Financial Times says Milan seeks to substitute London

Milan hopes to attract post-Brexit business from London.

Milan is “one of several cities in Europe hoping to pick up some of the spoils should London’s financial institutions shift their operations elsewhere post-Brexit,” according to London’s authoritative Financial Times.

In an article by Hannah Roberts, the financial daily points out that a fifth of Italy’s GDP is produced in the Lombardy region of which Milan is capital, and that the top 10 districts in Italy for average income are also located here.

Considering these and other advantages, and the fact that “Milan was less affected by the 2008 global crisis than most parts of Italy”, the analysis explains why the city is considering setting up a tax-free zone to attract businesses fleeing post-Brexit London.

The city, writes Roberts, “has plenty of practical advantages for entrepreneurs: fast train links, three airports and ample prime office space.” And she points out that legislation introduced in 2014 has played a part in attracting more start-ups.

The article reports a flood of enquiries from Italians in London considering returning to Italy – “overwhelmingly” to Milan – and even start-ups from outside the EU, many from Asia, turning to the city as London becomes less attractive.

Despite painting an overall positive picture, Roberts points out the downside: “inefficient bureaucracy and slow judicial system”. And the dismal level of spoken English compared with, say, the Netherlands.