Shanghai rising up on financial center list

Huang Yixuan
The city now ranks fourth among the world's top financial centers, according to the latest edition of the Global Financial Centers Index. 
Huang Yixuan

Shanghai ranks fourth among the top global financial centers, according to a new report.

In the latest edition of the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI 27), co-published by the China Development Institute in Shenzhen and Z/Yen Partners, a London-based market research company, Shanghai rose one place to the fourth in the index, overtaking Hong Kong and Singapore, .

New York retained its first place, extending its lead over London from 17 to 27 points, although the ratings for both centers dropped by more than 20 points. Tokyo moved up three places to rank third, with Shanghai only one point behind.

Singapore and Hong Kong both posted declines, to fifth and sixth place respectively.

Geneva, Los Angeles and San Francisco entered the top 10, easing out Dubai, Shenzhen and Sydney.

Performance across the index showed a high level of volatility, with 26 centers rising 10 or more places in the rankings and 23 falling 10 or more. 

This may reflect the uncertainty around international trade and the impact of geopolitical and local unrest; and also reflects the importance of sustainable finance, according to the report.

Nine of the top 10 centers in the index had lower ratings, among which eight fell by 12 points or more. Of the next 40 centers, 24 improved their ratings while 16 fell.

The mean of the top five Asia-Pacific centers remains higher than other regions. North America is still fractionally ahead of Western Europe. The top centers in other regions continue to narrow the gap with leading regions. Eastern Europe and Central Asia’s performance demonstrates continued strength, overtaking Latin America and the Caribbean.

Asia-Pacific centers had a somewhat downbeat performance with 15 centers falling in the rankings and 10 rising. This appears to reflect levels of confidence in the stability of Asian centers and in their approach to sustainable finance, which appears to be growing in its effect on the overall rating of centers, the report said.

This year's survey introduced questions looking directly at finTech and for the second time included a separate index ranking financial centers as competitive places for finTech.

In this sector, Chinese and US centers feature strongly, reflecting their focus on technology development, the report said. New York leads the finTech rankings, followed by Beijing, Shanghai, London and Singapore. Five of the top 10 centers for finTech are Chinese.

The index is compiled using 138 instrumental factors in five broad areas of competitiveness: business environment, human capital, infrastructure, financial sector development and reputation.

These quantitative measures are provided by third parties including the World Bank, the Economist Intelligence Unit, the OECD and the United Nations. The instrumental factors are combined with financial center assessments provided by respondents to an online questionnaire. GFCI 27 uses 37,695 assessments from 3,360 respondents.

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