City of London remains top global financial centre in own survey

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – London remains the world’s top financial centre as New York slips into second place, after tying with the UK capital last year, the City of London Corporation’s own survey showed on Wednesday.

Bottlenecks in business activity caused by Brexit, which largely cut the City off from the European Union, and the COVID-19 pandemic have been cleared, while regulatory efficiency, immigration policies and workers returning to the office have all improved London’s business ecosystem, the survey said.

“Although London saw a decrease in capital markets activity and assets under management, it ranked top in both sustainable finance and talent and skills,” the City of London said in a statement.

“New York leads the way in tech and wider financial activity, but its score fell this year as the bull market of the Covid period was halted by high inflation and steep interest rate rises.”

Other surveys like Z/Yen put New York well ahead of London, fighting off Singapore and Hong Kong to remain in second place.

The City’s survey, however, may not be enough to fully ease post-Brexit angst in the financial sector as UK-based companies like chip designer ARM choose to list in New York rather than London.

U.S. stock markets also hit record highs over the past week as investors bet on U.S. interest rates falling later this year, with the economy outpacing its main international peers, including Britain.

Britain has set out a welter of financial reforms to make listing in London more attractive and to direct pension cash into growth companies to deepen market liquidity.

The City of London said these reforms helped to land it the top spot in its survey, with an overall competitiveness score of 59, though down from 60 last year due to shrinkage in fund assets under management and a fall in foreign listings.

New York fell by three points to 57.

City of London policy chief Chris Hayward said further reforms were needed as Britain’s banks face a much higher tax rate than their U.S. rivals.

Singapore came in third again, dropping three points to 48, with Frankfurt fourth at 44 points, and Paris fifth with 40.

The survey is based on 101 metrics across five key competitiveness areas.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jonathan Oatis)