Тhe city of London and its role
as a financial center
Introduction. The Concept of the City of London.
Britain is a major financial centre providing a wide range of
specialised services. The country’s economy has for a long time been
directed through the great financial institutions which together are
known as “The City”, capital “C”, and which are mainly located in the
famous “Square Mile” of the City of London.
The “Square Mile” in the Roman Times historically emerged on the Thames
as the business and industrial nucleus of the future London. Through
centuries of business and religious developments the City assumed its
role of the world commercial centre as it is known today . When in the
20th century Great Britain lost its empire and other financial
centres got established in the world, the city adapted itself to
changed circumstances to remain a world financial leader. The City of
London has the greatest concentration of banks in the world
(responsible for about a quarter of total international bank lending) ,
the world’ s biggest insurance market (with about 1/5 of the
international market ), a Stock Exchange with a larger listing of
securities than any other exchange, and it remains the principal
international centre for transactions in a large number of commodities.
A large proportion of Britain’s wealth has been invested by the City
overseas. The City’s annual foreign income roughly double that of the
British manufacturing industries. The above proves the City’s world
significance as a financial centre. Geographically the City is a large
office area bubbling with life at daytime and comfortably quiet outside
the office hours. It’s historical sights like the Tower of London, St
Paul’s Cathedral, the Museum of London, the Monument and others as well
as the beautifully impressive architecture of the office buildings
attract crowds of visitors. The only housing project, the Barbican,
provides very expensive accommodation along with an arts centre, a
school and some official premises.
Since after the mid - 80s financial and related services have started to
expand outside the “Square Mile” though the City of London remains the
symbol and actual reality of the country’s power.
C h a p t e r 2
Britain’s Economic and Financial Position Today at Home and Abroad.
Finance and industry of the British economy go hand in hand as industry
requires a diversified network of financial institutions to develop
successfully. Although Britain’s financial power today exceeds that of
the country’s industrial achievement, the country was for years “the
workshop of the world”. It still remains a highly industrialised country
but the end of the 20th century saw tendencies for the economic decline.
Historically, after two world wars and the loss of its empire Britain
found it increasingly difficult to maintain its leading position in
Europe. The growing competition from the United States and later Japan
aggravated the country’s position.
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