London retains second place behind New York in list of world’s best financial hubs, latest research suggests

New York has maintained its place at the top of the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), while London has held on to second place as Chinese cities slipped.

The index, published by the Z/Yen Group in partnership with think-tank China Development Institute, will be a relief to London in particular after it lost access to the European Union financial market when the UK left the bloc at the end of the Brexit transition period last December.

“The relatively strong performance of New York and London suggests that the financial services sectors in these cities managed to sustain their performance despite radical changes in working practices during the last 18 months,” GFCI said.

It added that in Western Europe, London continues to lead, dropping only three points in the ratings compared with the previous list published in March this year. This reflects confidence in the longer-term prospects for the centre, it said.

Hong Kong and Singapore, in third and fourth position, both fell 25 points in the ratings.

Shanghai was down three places in the list to six, while Shenzhen dropped to 16th from eighth previously.

Shanghai and Shenzhen were down 29 and 32 points respectively.

By comparison, New York only fell by two points.

“We see two patterns in the results for GFCI 30 – confidence in the recovery of the North American and Western European economies following the shock of 2020; and a levelling off following the rapid rise of Asia/Pacific centres and their economic stability in the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Mainelli, Z/Yen executive chairman.

“Competition remains tight. Outside the top two centres, only five points on a 1,000 point scale separate the centres ranked third to eighth.”

In their survey of fintech centres, New York and Shanghai retained first and second positions, with London rising two places to third place as Britain makes fintech-friendly policies a priority.

Top 20 rankings according to GFCI:

1. New York (1 in previous list in March)

2. London (2)

3. Hong Kong (4)

4. Singapore (5)

5. San Francisco (12)

6. Shanghai (3)

7. Los Angeles (13)

8. Beijing (6)

9. Tokyo (7)

10. Paris (25)

11. Chicago (15)

12. Boston (24)

13. Seoul (16)

14. Frankfurt (9)

15. Washington DC (14)

16. Shenzhen (8)

17. Amsterdam (28)

18. Dubai (19)

19. Toronto (29)

20. Geneva (20)

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