‘Drop in con­fi­dence’ cited as lat­est GFCI rank­ing pub­lished

The Star (St. Lucia) - - BUSINESS - By He­len Burggraf

There has been an “over­all drop in con­fi­dence” among the world’s top fi­nan­cial cen­tres over the past six months, al­though in terms of points, Brexit-bat­tered Lon­don only fell slightly rel­a­tive to some of its ri­vals, and re­mained at the top of the lat­est Global Fi­nan­cial Cen­tres In­dex, which went live ear­lier this week in Lon­don.

Of the top 25 cen­tres, 23 fell in the rat­ings and only two rose, the pub­lisher of the 22nd twice-an­nual league ta­ble, the Lon­don-based Z/yen Group, noted in a sum­mary of its find­ings.

The rat­ings are dif­fer­ent from the GFCI rank­ing, con­sist­ing of a point score that ul­ti­mately de­ter­mines each jur­si­dic­tion’s place on the in­dex, which rates 92 fi­nan­cial cen­tres based on in­for­ma­tion it gath­ers from more than 3,000 fi­nan­cial ser­vices pro­fes­sion­als who make use of the var­i­ous cen­tres.

As was the case in March, when GFCI 21 came out, the lat­est edi­tion of the in­dex was pub­lished in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Shen­zhen-based China De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute, with which the Z/Yen Group es­tab­lished a “strate­gic part­ner­ship for re­search into fi­nan­cial cen­tres in 2016.

The lat­est rank­ing was com­piled from data that pre­ceded the re­cent hur­ri­canes in the Caribbean, with the re­sult that the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands – one of the hard­est-hit of the Caribbean is­lands by the storms – comes in at 37th place, up from 51st place in the pre­vi­ous rank­ing, pub­lished in March. Also mov­ing up, two places in the rank­ing to 81st place, was the Ba­hamas; neigh­bour­ing Trinidad and Tobago fell to 65th place from 60th.

Nev­er­the­less, Mark Ye­an­dle, who has been com­pil­ing the GFCI rank­ing since 2007, said he doesn’t be­lieve Hur­ri­cane Irma would have much of a long-term ef­fect on the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the Caribbean is­lands as fi­nan­cial cen­tres.

“Yes, it’s been truly hor­ri­fy­ing for all the peo­ple af­fected, but the area has been hav­ing se­vere trop­i­cal storms for a long time, al­though this one was worse than most,” he told In­ter­na­tional In­vest­ment.

“The type of fi­nan­cial ac­tiv­ity that pre­dom­i­nates in the re­gion is ‘slow mov­ing’ fi­nance, not mil­lisec­ond high fre­quency trad­ing. As such, even power out­ages of a cou­ple of days will not make peo­ple stop us­ing the Caribbean cen­tres.”

In the very long term, Ye­an­dle added, there could be an ef­fect there if global warm­ing were to re­sult in a sus­tained level of storms of in­creas­ing fe­roc­ity that made the is­lands less hab­it­able, “but I think we are not there yet”.

As was the case six months ago, and has gen­er­ally been the case re­cently, Lon­don tops the GFCI ta­ble, fol­lowed by New York, while Sin­ga­pore knocked arch-ri­val Hong Kong out of third place, and it dropped to fourth, where Sin­ga­pore sat six months ago. Tokyo re­mains in fifth place, fol­lowed by Shang­hai, which leapt five places to sixth.

Toronto, Syd­ney, Zurich and Bei­jing round out the top ten places, the 48-page re­port shows.

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