Time to Expand Wales' Small but More Trustworthy Financial Services Sector; We Can Benefit from Turmoil in the Banking World, Says MP

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

Time to Expand Wales' Small but More Trustworthy Financial Services Sector; We Can Benefit from Turmoil in the Banking World, Says MP


Byline: Tomos Livingstone

WALES needs to expand its financial services sector despite the turmoil in the banking world, says Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price.

While other areas of the UK, particularly the City of London, have suffered job losses as major banks teetered on the brink of collapse, Wales has been relatively insulated due to the small size of its own financial sector.

No Welsh bank or building society has had to be bailed out by the state, in contrast to Northern Rock, Bradford and Bingley and Royal Bank of Scotland.

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Wales is therefore best placed to benefit from the demand for new and trustworthy financial institutions, Mr Price said.

With 900 job losses planned at Bosch near Cardiff, Mr Price said additional investment in research and development was needed in Wales to ensure the economy was not over-dependent on one sector.

"We need to have balance in our economy, so growing some businesses in the financial sector, within the retail sector - that's where I think Wales could compete," he told the Western Mail. The Conservatives have proposed replacing the Financial Services Authority with a new regulatory body if they win the election, suggesting it could have its headquarters in Leeds - a city with a large financial services industry.

But Mr Price said there was no reason why the institution should not be based in Cardiff.

Writing on his blog, Mr Price said: "As London downsizes its financial sector, maybe it's time for us in Wales to expand ours.

"The WDA's financial services initiative was a fairly damp squib back in the 1980s, but more recently the success of Admiral has shown what can be done."

He added: "It is in retail financial services that Wales has the opportunity to grow. …

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