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The development of globally competitive activities needs a solid support from financial services. The financial sector is characterised by a multitude of actors and businesses that vary significantly one from the other. In some cases the sector leverages on highly qualified operators, in others it doesn’t. There are both local and global operators and for the latter ones there are several decision-making bodies present in different financial centres. A quantification of the incidence of this sector on certain local economies is therefore not straightforward. Nonetheless, it is evident that certain large cities have a strong specialisation in the financial sector whilst others, despite their large size, don’t. In order to measure the relevance of the financial sector one considers the relevance of financial and insurance activities on the overall economy, the size of the main banking players, the degree to which the banking system finances the real economy and the stock market.

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