A beginner's guide to the City of London

 The City of London is a major player in the global finance – but what helps make it the leader of the pack?

The Gherkin

If you work on the Square Mile, you probably already have a strong sense of the unique history and status of the place.

If you don't, then it's fair to say that the City of London is practically a law unto itself, a place that is bound by a largely different set of rules and traditions than the megapolis that surrounds it.

It is these unique quirks that have enabled the City to become the global epicentre of high finance, as well as the place from which countless innovations in banking and trading have hailed.

Here are some things that you probably didn't know already about the City of London and its role as a trailblazer at the heart of the finance world.

The Capital of Foreign Banking

If you have so much as walked through the City of London, you'll already know that it is no stranger to foreign money. On what seems like every street corner, there are banks and investment institutions from virtually every single country on Earth can be found here, including banks from the likes of Singapore, Spain, and Switzerland. However, that's not all. Believe it or not, London is home to more Japanese banking establishments than Tokyo itself, and there are rumoured to be more American banks on London soil than there are based in Manhattan. 

The Originator of CFDs

The City of London is regarded as the home of various important financial products and instruments that initially started out decades ago in the Big Smoke, with the most influential probably being the CFD, or Contract for Difference. These now widespread financial instruments were first developed by the LSE in the 1990s as a new type of equity swap, and are today used by institutions and retail investors in every corner of the globe. Nowadays, anyone can use a trusted CFD trading platform to buy and sell these instruments across a massive variety of sectors. That's how far this once-fringe invention has come. 

The City of London

The Forex Capital of the World

It's not just CFDs where the City of London truly shines: it is also the undisputed capital of foreign exchange or forex. This is the act of exchanging different currencies, a vital economic activity worth trillions of pounds per day.

Right now, an astonishing 40% of all foreign exchange trades pass through the City of London, which amounts to around $2.4 trillion passing through the Square Mile every single day. Part of this is due to London's favourable position in the global time zone matrix since it is able to straddle the trading hours of North America, Europe, and Asia. 

Where the World Talks to Each Other 

While an increasing proportion of deals and transactions in the City of London are conducted entirely through computer screens, it seems that money still prefers to talk. This is perhaps evidenced by the fact that more international telephone calls are made from the Square Mile than anywhere else in the world on any given day. That's right. There are more international calls taking place in the City of London right now than there are in Washington DC, Wall Street, Hong Kong, or Brussels. 

The City of London is a place of wealth, power, and mystery. It's also the crossroads of the world, where anything feels possible, and that's why we love it.