New research shows Manchester is set to be the UK’s most attractive city for institutional investors in 2023.

In the inaugural Brabners Northern Investment Index report, Manchester is ranked as the number one city for investment in 2023, ahead of London. Cardiff was ranked third, while Liverpool and Leeds ranked joint sixth overall.

The analysis, by independent law firm Brabners, surveyed more than 400 UK and US-based institutional investors.

Brabners’ analysis compared the intentions of institutional investors with existing interests in the UK and what they mean for the future of businesses in the North of England.

Notably, half of the investors (50%) intended to increase their investment in the North in 2023, with similar numbers (52%) having already done so in 2022.

Influenced by the pound’s recent relative weakness against the dollar, investors based in the US (55%) were more likely to increase their investment in the UK this year compared with their British counterparts (47%).

Despite recent findings by the IPPR North think tank that showed the North receives some of the lowest levels of investment among the world’s advanced economies, more than half (54%) of the investment managers surveyed had a positive view of the region as a place for business growth.

US views were more positive (59%) than domestic ones (51%), while just one in 10 (13%) respondents considered conditions for investment and growth in the North as poor.

Sam Mabon, head of corporate (Manchester) at Brabners, said: 

“There remains a significant amount of international interest in the UK, as the market represents increasingly good value for overseas investors.


“For example, US investors are clearly targeting value-enhanced assets and we continue to see increased interest from investors in the Arab Emirates, the Far East and Europe.


“Where that investment has traditionally largely focused on London, we can now also see a shift towards the regions, as UK-wide assets represent good value, supporting a more balanced spread of interest across the country – creating significant opportunities this year for businesses based in devolved city regions like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.”

Brabners CEO, Robert White, said:

“While the results of our Northern Investment Index report show that investment is increasing, and institutional investors recognise the potential of investing in the North West, it is important to also acknowledge the wider picture and the support the region needs to ‘level up’ in other ways.


“Recent data published by the IPPR North points to the low base from which the region is starting and ranks the North as one of the world’s least supported advanced economies when compared with its international peers.


“Devolution and cross-city collaboration are powerful tools and ones that, as a business anchored in the North, we welcome and support.”


“This month’s spring budget announcement gave important new spending powers to Greater Manchester, which will hopefully improve the prospects for inward investment and prove to be a positive step forward.


“However, it is vital that these powers are now extended to others and not just to the big city regions, but across the North as a whole so that key regional economies such as Lancashire and Cumbria can also benefit in years to come from growing investor interest in the region.”

Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said

The case for investment in the Northern Powerhouse has never been stronger.

“By handing further powers to our metro mayors including over tax – so-called fiscal devolution – we can leverage more public and private investment. Aligning capital, including into vital funds, would help to unleash opportunities in the North’s innovation districts, such as in health and life sciences.”