London closes in on New York as world’s top financial centre with Square Mile set for rebound

According to a new survey, London is narrowing the gap with New York for the title of the world’s top financial centre.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London has welcomed a survey suggesting the capital isn’t out of the race to be the globe’s top financial centre just yet.

The Z/Yen Global Financial Centres index, which ranks 121 centres, showed London remained in second place with a rating of 747 points behind New York, up three points from its previous report last September.

New York scored 764 points to retain the top spot, although its rating only ticked up by one point in the six months. The Big Apple has been in first place ever since it overtook London in September 2018.

The average rating of centres in the index rose 1.62 per cent from last September, suggesting continued confidence in the financial sector.

The top five centres remained unchanged, with Singapore, Hong Kong and San Francisco in third, fourth and fifth place respectively.

Shanghai overtook Los Angeles in sixth place, while the latter dropped to eighth. Geneva climbed three places to seventh, while Seoul re-entered the top 10 in 10th place.

Lord Mayor of the City of London and Z/Yen chair Michael Mainelli said: “Confidence in leading international financial centres remains strong, and the top 10 centre rivalry continues. The leading financial centres improved or maintained their ranking in GFCI 35, with a high degree of stability in the rankings.

“The improvement in ratings in Latin America & The Caribbean and in the Middle East & Africa shows the continuing development of emerging economies in financial services.”

The Square Mile suffered a bruising 2023 that saw City dealmaking crater to a post-financial crisis low, just 23 firms float on the London Stock Exchange and a flurry of big names opting to publicly list overseas.

There is an expectation among analysts that UK M&A will rebound this year as the prospect of interest rate cuts on both sides of the Atlantic bolsters appetite from firms.

Meanwhile, the London Stock Exchange Group has reported an “encouraging IPO pipeline”, with boss David Schwimmer pledging an “aggressive” push to revive the market.

The City of London Corporation’s latest figures ranked London ahead of New York, highlighting the Square Mile’s strength in sustainable finance and talent, as well as its “regulatory quality and openness to businesses”.

The Z/Yen index’s top 10 centres included four US cities – including Los Angeles and Chicago – although Washington DC moved to 12th from eighth.

In the top 20 ranked centres, none changed more or less than four places, suggesting no major shifts in the economic outlook across the world’s leading economies.

The index was compiled using 145 factors provided by third parties, including the World Bank, OECD, and the United Nations, as well as 48,365 assessments through an online questionnaire.

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