London closes in on New York as top global financial hotspot

London closes in on New York as top global financial hotspot

London is closing in on New York as the world’s leading financial centre while European rivals such as Frankfurt and Paris do not even make the top ten.

The Big Apple was ranked the top global financial hub for a fifth year in a row – but its lead over the City has shrunk.

But while London is looking to reclaim top spot – having been overtaken by New York in 2018 – it faces stiff competition from Singapore in third and Hong Kong in fourth.

San Francisco makes up the top five.

But Frankfurt and Paris – which hoped Brexit would offer them a chance to eclipse London – are languishing in 14th and 15th respectively.

City slickers: The Big Apple was ranked the top global financial hub for a fifth year in a row – but its lead over London has shrunk

The only other European city in the top ten is Geneva, in Switzerland – which, like Britain, is not part of the EU.

The findings – in the latest edition of The Global Financial Centres Index published by think-tank Z/Yen and the China Development Institute – make a mockery of claims that London has lost its lustre since Brexit.

And it comes as a vote of confidence amid concerns over the City’s standing after a wave of foreign takeovers and decisions by companies – such as British chip designer Arm – to list in New York rather than London.

David Schwimmer, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, last week said the doom and gloom about the City was ‘overplayed’.

‘Anything that is seen as negative commentary about London as a financial centre has become kind of clickbait,’ he said.

Reacting to the latest rankings yesterday, David Buik, a consultant to Aquis Exchange, said it was ‘no surprise’ that London was second only to New York. ‘It must never be forgotten that London is the centre of the time zone, with the best lawyers and accountants in the world,’ he said.

‘Though IPO business has been very disappointing this year due to a dearth of deals, as has been the case relatively in New York, London’s prowess in foreign exchange and derivatives is all but peerless.

‘London’s real competition comes from New York and the Far East. Without being disrespectful, European centres must continue to satisfy themselves in the role of spear carriers in the financial services arena.’

The survey ranks cities globally on everything from regulation and the rule of law to the tax burden and transport links as well as the economy and the availability of capital. New York came top with 763 points, up three, while London gained 13 to score 744.

Singapore, however, is now only 2 points behind London at 742, itself only a point ahead of Hong Kong in fourth place, signalling an intensifying battle for the second spot.

The report noted that the vast majority of financial centres improved their ratings in the past year, despite economic and political turmoil rocking global markets.

‘Confidence in international financial centres remains strong,’ said economist Professor Michael Mainelli, chairman of Z/Yen. ‘Skills and talent development is vital for financial centres, increasingly so with new skills required in areas such as AI and ethics.

‘Combining continuing professional development with formal tertiary education is a key strategy to ensure that the financial sector workforce is fit for the future.’