Singapore edges past Hong Kong as world's No 3 financial centre: Survey

SINGAPORE - Singapore edged past Hong Kong to become the world's No 3 financial centre, according to an index compiled by London-based research firm Z/Yen Group .

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

Singapore's two-point lead, is fairly insignificant. It came in fourth in September last year, the last time the index results were published, behind Hong Kong.

The index 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 rated by the index. 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 index report 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.

In the Asia Pacific area, seven of the top 10 centres saw a fall in their ratings, though the ratings of Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing rose slightly. Of the top ten centres in this region, Seoul and Sydney showed the largest falls.

jkoh@sph.com.sg