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Private equity and hedge fund firms dominate financial services’ London office take-up

  • West End saw 53% increase from financial services sector (excluding banks) in 2015
  • Brexit concerns may slow second quarter 2016 figures

LONDON, April 14th April, 2016 – Hedge fund and private equity firms are dominating office leasing in core areas of London among the financial services sector (excluding banks), with latest figures revealing strong demand, according to research out today from Cushman & Wakefield. 

In the first quarter of this year, take-up of office space from non-banking financial services firms was around 240,000 sq ft with hedge funds accounting for approximately a quarter (23%) and private equity nearly a fifth (18%). These figures are slightly down on overall comparisons to 2015, which was an extremely buoyant period for financial services companies according to the research. 

In the West End alone in 2015 there was an overall 53% increase in take-up from non-banking financial services firms to 803,676 sq ft, compared to 525,457 sq ft in 2014. Private equity firms in particular increased their office footprint, accounting for 30%of deals completed with hedge fund occupiers close behind on 21%. Other active subsectors included wealth managers (14%), fund managers (13%), investment managers (13%) and financial advisors (9%). 

Across Central London as a whole, take-up increased by 10% to 1,772,464 sq ft last year,  which compares to 1,608,273 sq ft in the previous 12 months. Reflecting a shift away from the City and East London, there was a 13% decrease in these areas in 2015 (882,049 sq ft) compared to 2014 (1,015,831 sq ft). 

Andy Tyler, Cushman & Wakefield’s Head of West End Office Agency, said: “Last year was undoubtedly a very positive year for the financial services sector from a real estate perspective in key parts of London.  

“In the West End, the uptake in activity from financial services firms was particularly noticeable. The amount of space leased by private equity firms and hedge funds has increased year-on-year since 2011 and accounts for an increasing proportion of total banking and financial services take-up. The traditional focus has been around core Mayfair areas – and that still retains an unwavering cachet for many firms – but increasingly others are prepared to look beyond to get the office space that suits them. 

“It remains to be seen whether the market continues to be as buoyant this year. There is a degree of caution at present and we are seeing prospective occupiers take a pause and await the outcome of factors such as the Brexit vote. As such, we would anticipate a slower second quarter. However, the supply shortages remain in the market and I would anticipate accelerated uptake in the second half of the year.” 

The research shows that the largest deal in 2015 involving non-banking financial services firms was by hedge fund Marshall Wace, which took 43,000 sq ft in Knightsbridge. 

Largest Hedge Fund & Private Equity Transactions 2015




Sq ft leased


131 Sloane Street, SW1

Marshall Wace



Park House, 116 Park Street, W1

Coller Capital


Covent Garden

Grand Buildings, Strand, WC2




Park House, 116 Park Street, W1

TPG Capital



Nova South, SW1

Advent International



The Shard, SE1

Foresight Group



1 New Burlington Place, W1

Davidson Kempner


North of Oxford Street

40 Portman Square, W1

Anchorage Capital


City Core

10 Finsbury Square, EC2

Pantheon Ventures


North of Oxford Street

1 Stephen Street, W1

Anacap Financial Partners



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