In the context of inevitably approaching exit of Great Britain from the EU the large players of the global bank sector are already planning to move from London. At the same time the fight in Europe for the right to shelter financial ‘refugees’ has become keener.
This is about tens if not about hundreds billion euro, as well as about hundred thousand jobs: today almost every sixth job in London either directly or indirectly is connected with the financial sector. This sphere engages about 300 thousand employees in the British capital.
Riga can and must receive a part of the European heritage of London. Especially since in the index of financial centres developed by its leading information and analytical centre Z/Yen Group this autumn the assessment of competitiveness of Riga has sharply – at once by 20 lines – improved exactly in this sphere.
On the basis of hundreds assessments by international experts in the sphere of financial services they ranked Riga as the 52nd among 87 largest global financial centres. But in the East European and Central Asian regions Riga became the third most competitive financial centre.
Compatibility with other financial centres, variety of services and specialisation – these three qualities characterize a world - class financial centre. At least a part of these attributes is inherent to Riga. Specialists characterize Riga as a local -scale financial centre, but with a sufficiently deep specialization, as well as Tallinn. Warsaw, which according to the last ranking is a leader in the East European and Central Asian regions, also possesses variety of services.
Assessment of competitiveness of a financial centre is also the assessment of business environment of the state, where the international experts pointed out as critically important the level of corruption, the rule of law and data protection. The issues of security, human rights, taxes, reputation, infrastructure, including information technologies and air service are important too. There are great achievements in many spheres of Latvia.
But the critics are right in some way as well when ascertaining that the financial institutions of Riga should continue expanding and increasing variety of target markets and services. This would ensure a significantly larger contribution to the economy. But nationwide a great deal remains to be done here both for the improvement of business environment – fight against corruption, shadow economy, improvement of the tax system, and for the development of securities market.