Investec is to expand its investment banking operations to the north of England, its first in the UK outside London. This expansion by the London-headquartered banking and asset management company is in line with its strategy to explore regions that are under-exploited.

This strategy concurs with Chancellor George Osborne's Northern Powerhouse vision. The Northern Powerhouse is a proposal aimed at uplifting economic growth in the north of England, particularly in the cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

Andrew Pinder, head of investment banking at Investec in the UK, said, "We see it as a very big growth market for us. There's untapped potential for investment banking — it's ripe for opportunity."

While other financial and professional services companies have already invested in the north in line with Osborne's vision, what is unusual about Investec's investment is that it is creating a full-service investment banking operation there.

"A lot of what we do comes down to relationships. There are plenty of exciting clients in the north and they like having someone who has a cultural fit," according to Dan Sheahan, Investec's first appointee at its northern operation, who will start work with the group today (2 November).

Investec's operation with its base in Leeds will utilise the group's wealth management offices across Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool. Clients from this new investment banking operation include Tracsis, Servelec, McBride, Henry Boot, Exova and Bodycote. The bank, with its dual headquarters in London and Johannesburg, could offer businesses in this region access to overseas buyers, said Pinder.

Other companies that have expanded operations or opened offices in the north of England include Manchester-based Zeus Capital, small-cap broker Cenkos, private equity firm Northedge and Atom, a mobile-first challenger bank.

"The cities of the north all have their head held high," Sheahan said before adding that the atmosphere in this region was very positive.