New York stretches lead over London as the world's top financial center, survey shows

Key Points
  • New York is again gauged as the top financial center in the world.
  • London loses marks but clings on to second place.
  • Asian cities are on the rise and are dominant in the Fintech space.
People walk on Wall St. outside the New York Stock Exchange, August 7, 2019.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

New York has stretched its lead over London in the race to be the world's top financial center, according to a poll conducted by Z/Yen group and the China Development Institute (CDI).

The Big Apple scored 790 points to top the 26th edition of the Global Financial Centres Index. The index studied 104 different cities.

New York increased its lead over London to 17 points, with the home of Wall Street considered top in all 5 factors measured: Business Environment, Human Capital, Infrastructure, Financial Sector, Development, and Reputation.

The U.K. capital only just retained second in the ranking as Brexit continued to diminish its standing. London with a score of 773 only just edged out Hong Kong in third place with a score of 771.

Leading Financial Centers

Professor Michael Mainelli, executive chairman of Z/Yen, said competition at the top of the index is intensifying and London could soon be surpassed by more than one city.

"London is in a 'slipping second' position globally and a 'slipping first' in Europe amidst high volatility emanating from policy uncertainties, Brexit, trade wars, and geopolitical unrest. Asian centres and a resurging Paris are fighting for that second-place spot," he said in a press release Thursday.

Singapore and Shanghai remain in fourth and fifth position respectively and seven of the top ten places in the index are now taken by Asia/Pacific locations.

A new separate index was included for the first time, measuring the top locations for FinTech firms. Chinese centers occupy five of the top seven places in that index, led by Beijing and Shanghai. New York, London, Singapore, San Francisco, and Chicago also feature in the top ten for FinTech.

Fintech Scores

Results to both surveys were collated via an online questionnaire during the 24 months to June 2019. The survey collectors said 3,360 respondents gave valid answers during this time.