New York stays in top spot while London’s position challenged by leading Asian centres in Global Financial Centres Index Ratings

New York has retained its lead in the rankings of the Global Financial Centres Index 29 (GFCI 29), launched by Z/Yen Group in partnership with the China Development Institute (CDI). London has fallen to only one point ahead of third place Shanghai.  

Hong Kong moved up a place to fourth, one point behind Shanghai, with Singapore in fifth position. Tokyo dropped three places from fourth to seventh. Frankfurt replaced San Francisco in the top 10 in this edition, gaining seven rank places, perhaps benefiting from the exit of the UK from the European Union. 

GFCI 29 shows a relatively high level of stability in the top half of the index, with few centres changing 10 or more places in the rankings. In the lower half of the index, there was more volatility, perhaps reflecting some uncertainty about the resilience of emerging and smaller centres. 

The average rating of centres in the index dropped only 3.5 points (-0.55 per cent) from GFCI 28 (41 points from GFCI 27 to GFCI 28), which may indicate more confidence in the financial system than in the first stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. The fact that overall ratings have not recovered to the levels seen in 2019 reflects the continuing uncertainty around international trade, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and geopolitical and local unrest.  

Nine of the top 10 centres in the index fell in the ratings, with London and Tokyo falling over 10 points. New York continues to lead the fintech ranking, followed by Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and London. Tel Aviv and Los Angeles enter the top 10. 

Professor Michael Mainelli, Executive Chairman of Z/Yen, says: “GFCI 29 ratings have not returned to the levels of 2019, reflecting a welter of instability in international trade, politics, and economics, not least large-scale interventions by central banks and questions about the future treatment of commercial banks, insurers, and payment providers. ‘Building back’ will see major changes to investments and taxation. GFCI is most active on the Pacific Rim. Only 44 points on a 1,000 point scale separate the top 10 centres. A four-point rise would place Singapore second only to New York. It’s tight at the top, and no time for complacency.”