A financial export is a business service provided by a domestic firm (regardless of ownership) to a foreign firm or individual within the scope of financial services. While financial services such as current accounts, mortgages and cashpoints are often seen as a domestic service, an increasing proportion of financial services are now being handled abroad, including in financial centres, for a variety of reasons. Financial exports include a wide range of activities from insurance to banking and brokerage. Many smaller locations (such as Bermuda, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands) lack sufficient size for a balanced domestic economy, thus requiring them to look abroad for markets in financial services. The increasing competitiveness of financial services has meant that many countries (such as the United States and Japan) which were self-sufficient or protectionist have increasingly imported financial services.
The United States, France, and Japan are all importers of financial services, whereas Switzerland and Germany both record modest surpluses. The leading financial exporter, in terms of exports less imports, is the United Kingdom, which had £19 billions of financial exports in 2004, rising to £21 billions in 2005. The UK's position is helped by both unique institutions (such as Lloyd's of London for insurance, the Baltic Exchange for shipping etc.) and an environment that attracts foreign firms (all large US banks have offices and operations in the City of London or London Docklands and/or Edinburgh).
- Giles, Chris (19 July 2005) 'City of London drives surge in UK financial exports' (London: Financial Times)
- Brewer, James (20 July 2005) 'Shipbrokers give UK a boom year boost' (London: Financial Times)
- Daneshkhu, Scheherazade (12 September 2005) 'Rise in exports of services masks industrial decline' (London: Financial Times)
- Chisholm, Jamie (5 January, 2005) 'UK services sector shows robust growth' (London: Financial Times)