The index, compiled by social enterprise New Financial, ranks financial centres in different categories, with a clear distinction between domestic and international activities of the 65 countries it assessed. Combined, these countries represent around 95% of global financial activity and 94% of global GDP based on the data from 2014 to 2019.
In the overall ranking, the US in first place followed by the UK, China, Japan, and Hong Kong. But the index shows big margins between the top financial centres, depending on whether quantitative or qualitative metrics of financial activity are assessed.
It classifies the US as the dominant global financial centre with an overall score of 84 points out of 100, more than double the score of the UK in second place with 35 points overall. However, in Europe, the UK takes the lead with a significant gap three times larger than its European counterparts despite the expected impact of Brexit.
In terms of the economic and business environment, quality of life, infrastructure and human capital, the US ranks again first followed by the UK, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Singapore, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Denmark, and Ireland in the top ten.
Looking at international activity, Luxembourg and Singapore are the most international financial centres, with international business accounting for roughly 60% of all financial activity followed by Hong Kong and the UK, with just about 14% of international activity in the US and 3% in China.
Although international financial activity of Asian countries is limited, they account for four of the top 10 financial centres and eight of the top 20 in the world with China recognised as the third largest financial centre owing to its large domestic financial sector ahead of Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The domestic activity of the US also accounts for its dominance although it is equally recognised as the biggest market for international financial activity, again followed by the UK (56) Luxembourg (22) and Hong Kong (21).