Hong Kong Named World’s Top Financial Centre

GCC cities fail to feature in World Economic Forum’s report as top six places remain unchanged.



Hong Kong has been named the world’s top financial centre for the second year running by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The city’s strong business environment, infrastructure and low tax levels have helped it reach the top spot again in the WEF’s Financial Development Report.

The rise of Asia’s trading centres and the influence of China as the world’s second-largest economy were also influential factors.

The top six spots remained unchanged from 2011 due to stalling capital markets and sluggish economic growth. The remaining five places went to the US, Britain, Singapore, Australia and Canada.

Giancarlo Bruno, senior director at the WEF, said: “Macroeconomic uncertainty as well as concerns related to regulation, contributes to inhibiting the financial industry from funding much-needed growth.”

A lack of trust in financial organisations was also a factor in the static top six result, though the report noted there were pockets of improvement across a few banking-related indicators.

Rival surveys put London or New York at the top spot though these were from reports typically based on the total value of transactions.

WEF’s report looked at legal and regulatory factors, business environment, financial stability, banking and non-banking services and markets.

“Despite these strengths, Hong Kong has a relatively underdeveloped bond market and its financial sector has yet to be fully liberalised,” the report said.

The remaining top 10 places were made up by Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden.