London remains the top global financial centre

Monday, 19 March 2012 09:44

London has kept its position as the leading world financial centre, staying just ahead of New York and Hong Kong.

The survey, by think-tank Z/Yen Group shows that the rise of Chinese financial centres in Shanghai and Shenzhen all declined.

Mark Yeandle, of Z/Yen believes the fall in the ranking of Chinese financial centres may be due to restrictions on trading in the local currency, the renminbi.

The survey has been issued on the same day as Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has criticised the Chinese economy for being too dependent on exports.

Ms Lagarde also said that the Chinese Yuan could become the global reserve currency after the dollar I certain reforms were implemented that led to a stronger and more flexible valuation of its currency.

London has retained its position as the premier financial centre despite criticism from many leading financial institutions that there is too much regulation in the UK and taxes are too high.

London has also had to operate in an economic environment of little growth and against the backdrop of the euro debt crisis.

A number of major financial institutions such as HSBC and Prudential have threatened to move the centre of their operations away from London.

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The survey ranks 77 international financial centres according to factors including infrastructure, competitiveness and market access.

Earlier this year, George Osborne signed an agreement in Hong Kong designed to give London a greater role to play as an offshore investor trading in the renminbi.

London has been the pre-eminent financial centre in each of the four years of the survey but has been closely tagged by New York, Hong Kong and Singapore, which are expected to remain the four leading global financial centres.

The euro debt crisis has hit the ratings of European financial centres such as Dublin, Athens and Milan but Frankfurt and Paris have climbed up the rankings.

The survey also questioned the 1,700 finance professionals responding as to their views on a financial transactions tax (FTT). 73 per cent said it would reduce the competitiveness of their financial centre.

Meanwhile, questioned over regulatory decisions such as the splitting of banks retail and investment arms, 57 per cent of respondents said it would have no impact on competitiveness.

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