Having a presence in London is as important to financial services companies as ever. So too is media visibility in this market.
London’s financial media landscape is unlike that of any other in the world. Most financial centres host publications that serve their domestic financial markets, e.g. Frankfurt for Germany, Paris for France, Madrid for Spain, New York for the US, Tokyo for Japan and so on. But London’s financial publications are a window onto global finance.
Newspapers and websites with London offices not only cover what is happening in the UK, although there are many that do focus on the domestic market. Several pan-European publications also choose London as their hub, as do publications covering developments across global financial markets.
This reflects London’s unique status as a global hub for finance. Traditionally, London has been seen as a gateway to Europe. It is also conveniently located in the right time zone to keep track of developments in the US and Asia. The English language is obviously an important unifying aspect. Financial players based outside the UK often use English to conduct their business. Relevant media outlets also tend to employ English to communicate what is happening in financial markets to their target audiences.
Brexit means… new communications opportunities
People often ask me: “why London, in the context of the Brexit vote?” The truth is that London will not stop being the world’s major hub for finance overnight—despite competition from other European centres—and it is even less likely that its deeply entrenched financial media landscape will change (for all of the reasons described above). Can you imagine the headquarters of the Financial Times or The Economist uprooting to Paris? Neither can I; though some journalists may wish it would happen.
Our clients recognise this, and that is why they see London as not only an important market for their businesses, but also for them to communicate in.
The Brexit vote has opened up new opportunities for our clients to tell their stories. Many of them are French and pan-European firms, which have hitherto seen only limited media interest from London. This is partly because the expansion of coverage to other markets has been a gradual process for many UK-based publications, particularly in cases where they lack staff on the ground.
Now, more than ever, journalists in London want to hear from financial services companies operating in Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Dublin and Luxembourg. Reporters are keen to understand the extent to which firms are actually shifting or expanding their operations to elsewhere in Europe in the wake of the Brexit vote. Many of our clients are ready to dispel the myth that London is somehow no longer attractive. As European fintech and asset management companies in particular will testify, having a presence in London is often a key component of their growth strategy.
Another distinctive feature of London is that it plays host to a whole range of ultra-specialised financial publications, organised by market segment. No other media market in the world has the diversity of financial publications that London has to offer. Whether your core business is concentrated on structured credit, loans, emerging market debt, infrastructure investment, European or global equities, in London there are publications dedicated solely to coverage of these sub-asset classes.
And just like financial services companies themselves, many publications are organised according to client segments, such as third-party insurance business, pension funds, private banks and high net worth individuals.
Consequently, European financial services firms entering London, or those which are already there but lack visibility, need the support of those who understand this vast media landscape, as well as the sectors of coverage involved. That’s why Fargo Agency came to London. Our staff, comprised of former financial journalists and PR professionals, act as a bridge between two worlds: the City of London, and what used to be known as ‘Fleet Street’ (home to the media).
By Luisa Porritt, Managing Director, Fargo Agency UK