Essex – ‘The UK’s Back Office’ for Financial Services Businesses

London Essex UK finance corridor

Leading finance businesses choose Essex for back office operations

Cutting the costs of business support functions…

A prestigious office in London may still be seen as essential for major financial services businesses, but it comes with a hefty price tag. That’s why many companies are either transferring support functions to cheaper out-of-London locations, or outsourcing them to third parties.  The current trend is to maintain these functions in the UK. According to JLL, many businesses that had previously moved some operations offshore are now ‘re-shoring’ them to the UK - to benefit from an attractive regulatory environment and business climate, as well as a high quality workforce [1].

Essex is emerging as a preferred location for both 'in-house' and outsourced back office functions for finance businesses. Here's why…

Source: [2]

VentricaEssex has more ‘administrative and secretarial’ workers (as a percentage of the overall workforce) than any major English city [2]. It could reasonably be described as ‘the UK’s back office’, with direct connections to London undoubtedly being part of the attraction.  Travel times as fast as 30 minutes make it is easy for London-based businesses to maintain physical connections with the ‘back office’. Meanwhile, unbeaten broadband connectivity enables seamless IT communications, both within businesses and with clients.  Major finance companies including RBS and LV= have based support functions in Essex, and a number of specialist outsourcing firms including Converso, Ventrica, First Data and IFDS are based in the county. 

Delivering a high-quality workforce…

Not only is there an available and skilled workforce but also, an excellent recruiting ground for high-quality staff. 

“Essex has proved to be an excellent recruiting ground for high-quality staff. You could call the county an administration corridor – it was very easy to source people locally with the right personal skills for front line customer contact duties”.

Julian Rice, Head of Marketing, IFDS

Combined with significant cost advantages…

Office rent London vs major UK regional cities

Source: [3]

All of these location benefits are underpinned by significant cost advantages versus competitor UK locations.  Average wages are 48% lower than those in London and 5% lower than those in other major UK cities [2].  Further cost savings can be made on accommodation: prime office rents in Essex are 74% lower than in the City of London and 26% lower than in the UK’s major regional cities [3]. 

A winning combination…

The London-Essex UK Finance Corridor is focused on the key towns of Brentwood, Chelmsford, Colchester, Basildon and Southend-On-Sea, all which offer fast, efficient transport links to London combined with a ready workforce and a low cost base. In an increasingly competitive business environment, a growing number of leading financial services companies are discovering that this represents a winning combination for cost-effective back office operations.

FIND OUT MORE

Contact INVEST Essex to find out more about property, people and support for your expanding financial services business in Essex, UK.

Sources:

[1] JLL 15th October 2014: http://www.jll.co.uk/united-kingdom/en-gb/news/1865/companies-re-shoring-risen-uk
[2] ONS annual population survey, 2014
[3] Colliers, 2015

Corinne Hearne
Corinne Hearne

Inward Investment Manager (London-Essex UK Finance Corridor)

+44 (0) 7702 900667

Biography

With over 25 years’ experience in the Financial Services and Global Relocation industries, Corinne has developed an extensive, specialist, commercial network and has successfully supported projects focused on the strategic development and growth of both overseas and UK companies in business, professional and financial services sectors.