NY and London stay atop financial rankings

Despite fears that London could lose its standing as a leading financial hub because of Brexit-related relocations to the EU, the City has retained its second place in the latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI).

USA and UK Flags
But first-placed New York has extended its lead over London in the index, compiled by the Z/Yen Group in partnership with the China Development Institute, while rivals in Asia are gaining ground.

London stays in top 5 rankings

Nevertheless, the City A.M. website pointed out: "The City beat the likes of Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam to Europe’s crown. Pessimists had warned that Brexit would reduce the attractiveness of the City to the world’s top finance firms.

"London’s deep pool of highly skilled workers and a welcoming business regime were key factors in cementing its position as the bloc’s top dog. The capital’s booming FinTech scene continues to drive innovation and technological development in the global financial services industry."

The index, based on surveys and 150 factors, awarded New York 759 points - down three points from the GFCI six months ago - with London 14 points down at 726. But London has become the only European hub in the top 10 after Shenzhen replaced Paris in 10th spot.

Apart from New York and London, the other centres in the top 10 are closely matched, with only eight rating points separating third and tenth places.

Economy boost since pandemic hit

Prof Michael Mainelli, executive chairman of Z/Yen, said: “The second half of 2021 saw a level of confidence in the world economy that we have not seen since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"However the pandemic remains an unpredictable variable, as does the effect of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. We will be looking at the effects of these in future editions of the GFCI.”

The report said the invasion of Ukraine would affect the future rankings of both Moscow and St Petersburg, which are likely to fall after coming in 50th and 110th, respectively, this time.

Hong Kong remained in third place in the rankings but Singapore dropped two places, from fourth to sixth, after being overtaken by Shanghai and Los Angeles.

Countries saw losses and stable performances throughout the last six months

"Asia-Pacific centres generally recovered losses that they experienced (six months ago) in GFCI 30," reported Z/Yen's London headquarters.

"This suggests that there is restored confidence in the economic strength of the region, and in trade performance. North American and Western European centres had generally stable performance.

"The data on which GFCI 31 is based relate to the period up to the end of 2021. While we might have expected more volatility in the ratings as the world continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the broadly level ratings in the index suggest that in the last half of 2021, confidence was returning to the world economy."
In separate FinTech ratings in the index, New York and Shanghai retained first and second positions, but Beijing and San Francisco overtook London to take third and fourth places.

GFCI top 10:
1. New York
2. London
3. Hong Kong
4. Shanghai
5. Los Angeles
6. Singapore
7. San Francisco
8. Beijing
9. Tokyo
10. Shenzhen

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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