Singapore becomes world’s third top financial centre


Singapore edged past Hong Kong to become the world’s third top financial centre, according to a survey by London-based research firm Z/Yen Group released last Wednesday.

Singapore ranks behind London and New York, and two points ahead of Hong Kong on the Global Financial Centres Index. Tokyo came in fifth.

Singapore’s two-point lead, is fairly insignificant, according to the report. It came in fourth in the previous survey in September last year, behind Hong Kong.

The semi annual survey is based on the responses of 2,520 financial-services professionals.

London remained just ahead of New York to retain the number one position. However, the report noted that the two centres ‘are complimentary rather than purely competitive’.

It noted also that a number of respondents commented that the uncertainty surrounding the possible exit of Britain from the European Union, dubbed Brexit, is having a negative impact on London’s competitiveness at present.

The ranking reflects performance in key areas including business environment, financial sector development and infrastructure of the 86 financial centres around the world covered by the survey. Evidence of a centre’s performance in these spheres is drawn from a range of measures like external indexes.

The historical dominance of the leading centres in Western Europe and North America has eroded over time, Z/Yen Group said. The mean rating of the top five centres in these regions is now lower than the mean of the top five centres in the Asia Pacific region, it noted.

Said Mark Yeandle, associate director at Z/Yen Group: “While London and New York still lead the field, the next three centres are all Asian”.

The latest survey also noted that Western European centres remain ‘mired in uncertainty’. Of the 29 centres in this region, 12 centres rose in the ratings and 17 centres fell.

In the North American region, fortunes were mixed. Financial centres in the United States like New York and Washington DC rose in the ratings, but the three leading Canadian centres fell in the ratings.