Saturday, March 13, 2010

S’pore ranked 4th in financial centres survey

SINGAPORE is closing the gap on London and New York as a leading financial centre, according to a new ranking.

The poll placed the two heavyweights in joint top spot but London has lost 15 points since the index was published last September while New York has gained one. Both scored 775 out of 1,000.

But Asian cities are fast catching up in the Global Financial Centres Index.

Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo all registered double-digit gains to close the gap between New York and London and the rest to its narrowest since the survey began in 2007.

Hong Kong gained 10 points to be third while Singapore added 14 to stay fourth. Tokyo gained 18 points to leapfrog Zurich and Shenzhen into fifth place.

Four of the top 10 financial centres are now in Asia.

The six-monthly index is compiled by the Z/Yen Group think-tank and published by the City of London. It combines a survey of financial professionals with factors such as tax rates, airport satisfaction, office occupancy costs and stock exchange capitalisation.

Mr Stuart Fraser, chairman of the policy committee of the City of London, said the survey responses were more optimistic compared with those six months or a year ago.

However, he added: ‘Their optimism is still muted by the prospect of the challenges to be faced over the next few years in reaction to the financial crisis, and any reading of relative rankings needs to take account of a very large uncertainty factor.’

Among the top cities, Singapore was perceived to be riding out the financial crisis with more resilience than the others.

Respondents were asked which financial centres they believed were suffering most from the crisis. New York was named 110 times and London, 89.

In contrast, Hong Kong received less than 20 per cent of the mentions of New York while Singapore received fewer than 10 mentions overall.

Source: Straits Times, 13 Mar 2010

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