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Recently released, the Global Financial Centres Index, which was created by the Z/Yen Group for the city of London, ranks 75 major financial centers in terms of their competitiveness on a global scale.
Important factors to gauge a center's competitiveness include people, business environment, infrastructure, market access and general competitiveness, which includes measures such as occupancy costs, tax information and exchange agreements, for a total of 64 instrumental factors.
So what are the most competitive global financial centers? Click ahead to find out!
By Paul Toscano
Posted 22 Sept 2009
GFCI 6 Rating: 638
15th on the list, Guernsey, an island in the English Channel, has attracted the wealthy for years, but also has become known for its financial services industry, which is estimated to be responsible 23% of employment and about 55% of total income, according to the US government. It is also known as a tax haven, although its increasing integration with the EU may change the way in which the country operates.
GFCI 6 Rating: 640
Another offshore center that ranks highly on the list is Jersey. The British crown dependency is heavily based in international financial services, with the financial sector accounting for 50% of the island's total output. With light taxes and death duties, Jersey has also become a popular tax haven. In the The Z/Yen Group's report, Jersey's top ranks are in asset management (#7) and professional services (#6).
GFCI 6 Rating: 647
Generally considered the financial capital of Canada, the city is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange and is the headquarters for the country's five biggest banks, along with many of the country's major corporations. The report ranks Toronto highly in government regulation (#7), people (#9) and professional services (#10).
GFCI 6 Rating: 649
Commonly known in Germany as "the city of the banks," "Mainhattan" and "Bankfurt," six major German banks are headquartered in the city, including Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, DZ Bank and KfW, among others. The city is also home to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the XETRA, which makes the city the second largest European center for stock trading. Frankfurt ranks highly in government regulation (#6), market access (#8) and infrastructure (#9).
GFCI 6 Rating: 651
The Australian securities exchange and reserve bank of Australia are located in the city, along with the headquarters of 90 Australian banks and over half of the country's largest companies. It is also a regional headquarters for many multinational corporations. This year's report ranks Sydney highly in people (#6), business environment (#8) and government regulation (#10).
GFCI 6 Rating: 655
Generally considered the primary financial center for mainland China, it is home to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which is the country's largest exchange by market capitalization. The report ranks city highly in insurance (#6) and banking (#7).
GFCI 6 Rating: 660
Geneva's financial industry is one of the oldest in the world, beginning in 1387 when the church granted residents of the city the right to lend money against interest, which was a unique privilege at the time. Presently, the city is home to 130 banks, and it is estimated that 40% of Switzerland's $2.9 trillion in managed assets are directly or indirectly controlled in Geneva. The city ranks highly in business environment (#7), professional services (#8) and asset management (#10).
GFCI 6 Rating: 661
The Z/Yen Group cites Chicago's strength as a financial center for its robust derivatives market, but also ranks 5th in business environment and general competitiveness, 8th in asset management and government regulation and 9th in banking and professional services. Chicago is also home to the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
GFCI 6 Rating: 674
One of the world's most important financial centers, Tokyo is the headquarters for some of the world's largest investment banks, insurance companies and nearly 10% of companies listed in Fortune's Global 500. The city is also home to Japan's largest stock exchange, the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The city is ranked highly in infrastructure, government regulation, people and asset management (#5), market access (#7) and insurance (#8).
GFCI 6 Rating: 676
Home to major international players like Credit Suisse and UBS, the city is home to the Swiss Stock Exchange and is considered to be Switzerland's economic and financial center. The city ranks highly in asset management, market access and business environment (#6) along with insurance and professional services (#7).
GFCI 6 Rating: 695
Perhaps the least well known highly ranked city, this year's report is the first time the Chinese city of Shenzhen, located to the north of Hong Kong, has been included. The city is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, which includes over 500 companies and has over 35 million registered investors. The center ranks highly on this year's report in banking and insurance (#5).
GFCI 6 Rating: 719
The city-state of Singapore is a highly developed market-based economy, and is home to over 600 financial institutions, including 218 insurance companies/brokers, 162 banks and 118 fund management firms, according to the country's Institute of Banking & Finance. Across the board, Singapore ranks #4 in this year's report, but claims the #3 spot in government regulation and professional services.
GFCI 6 Rating: 729
Generally considered one of the world's leading financial centers, Hong Kong ranks third overall in this year's report. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is this sixth largest in the world, and the government has chosen to play a more passive role in the financial industry compared to other developed economies. Across the board, Hong Kong ranks at #3 in the Z/Yen Group's major sub-indices, except for in government regulation and professional services, where it ranks in the #4 spot.
GFCI 6 Rating: 774
When people think of a global financial center, New York is almost certainly the one that would come to mind. With the New York Stock Exchange and major financial titans like Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs calling New York home, the prominence is undeniable, even with the credit crisis and current recession. In this year's Global Financial Centres Index, New York ranks #1 in Banking, but ranks #2, as far as competitiveness goes, in all other categories.
GFCI 6 Rating: 790
According to the study, London was in the top quartile of nearly all instrumental factors listed. It ranks first in asset management, government regulations, insurance, professional services, people, business environment, market access, infrastructure and general competitiveness. London is the home to the London Stock Exchange and is the headquarters for more than half of the UK's top 100 listed companies.