Wales

Cardiff 'attractive' location says Deloitte UK chief

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Media captionDavid Sproul said there was no reason why the Cardiff workforce could not expand further

Cardiff is well placed to create more jobs in financial services, the UK head of finance giant Deloitte has said.

The group's finance and administration centre of excellence officially opened in the city's enterprise zone on Wednesday.

David Sproul said the lower cost of office space gave Cardiff an edge over Birmingham and Manchester.

Half of the promised 700 staff are already in place; the remaining jobs will be created over five years.

It comes as ministers said they had supported 10,000 new finance and professional jobs in Wales since 2011.

As for the future, Mr Sproul added: "There's no reason that we couldn't be twice as big here as we look forward and have 1,500 people here instead of 700."

The company - which has a technology centre of excellence in Belfast - had looked at a number of cities before opting for Cardiff as an "attractive" location.

He said: "We knew we could get a broad range of graduates, it was a great location in terms of office facilities and also in terms of commuter distance back into London - for those who need to see clients there it's only two hours on the train."

Deloitte also looked at the cluster of other finance companies like Admiral and legal firms in the city.

Mr Sproul, Deloitte UK's chief executive and senior partner, said the £3.5m of Welsh government support was linked to jobs and what they would do for the economy.

"We're creating 700 new jobs that wouldn't be here otherwise," he told BBC Wales.

The posts include tax, IT and administrative support for clients and the group's other offices.

'Vote of confidence'

Most will be on entry-level starting salaries of around £20,000 but more senior staff were on up to £80,000 a year.

Fewer than 50 people had relocated from Bristol and Reading.

"We're creating career opportunities for all these people. Nationally, we employ 15,000 and recruit 1,500 a year at entry level."

He said the quality, diversity and ambition of graduates in Cardiff was equivalent to Manchester and Birmingham but the rental and infrastructure costs were lower.

Mr Sproul said Cardiff was one of the options for other companies in the sector.

"Once you have people in the city that prove it successful, why would others not want to replicate it and come here? The infrastructure and support structure are already here."

Around 140,000 people work in the finance and professional sector in Wales, an increase of 14,000 since 2011.

First Minister Carwyn Jones, who officially opened the offices, said it was a "vote of confidence" in the city's enterprise zone.

He said he was confident that growth would be felt beyond the zone in years to come.

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