New York Again Ranks as Top Global Financial Hub But London Gains in Volatile Index

New York again heads the rankings of the world’s leading global financial centres.

The Global Financial Centres Index 28, launched by London think tank Z/Yen Group in partnership with the China Development Institute (CDI), shows London improved its performance in second position, closing the gap on New York. London is now only four points behind the leader (27 points in GFCI 27).

GFCI 28 again shows a relatively high level of volatility, with 23 centres rising 10 or more places in the rankings and 20 falling 10 or more places.

Shanghai moved up one place to third and Tokyo dropped one place to fourth, although only one point separates them in the ratings. Similarly, Hong Kong moved up a place to rank fifth and Singapore fell one place to sixth, again with only one point separating Hong Kong and Singapore in the ratings.

Within the top 30 centres, Luxembourg, Boston, Seoul, and Madrid rose by more than five places. Shenzhen and Zurich entered the top 10, replacing Los Angeles and Geneva.

Overall, the average rating of centres in the index dropped over 41 points (6.25%) from GFCI 27, which the authors said may indicate a more general lack of confidence in finance during a time of continuing uncertainty around international trade, the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on individual economies, and geopolitical and local unrest.

All of the top 10 centres in the index increased their ratings in GFCI 28, reversing recent trends. Of the next 40 centres, 12 improved their rating while 27 fell. The authors believe this may indicate increased confidence in leading centres during the covid-19 pandemic.

“GFCI 28 shows increased confidence in the leading financial centres, but a general reduction in confidence in other centres. Uncertainty about trade, political stability, and the economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic has injected more volatility into the index results,” said Professor Michael Mainelli, executive chairman of Z/Yen.

He said new ways of working are challenging the concept of a traditional financial centre, citing the physical City of London that has had an economically difficult covid-19, while financial services in southeast England have had a bumper year.

The top 20 centres are shown in the table below.

GFCI 28 rates 111 financial centres across the world combining assessments from financial professionals with quantitative data which form instrumental factors. GFCI 28 uses 54,509 financial centre assessments collected from 8,549 financial services professionals who responded to the GFCI online questionnaire. The GFCI is updated regularly and ratings change as assessments and instrumental factors change.

Other Findings


  • New York leads the FinTech rankings, followed by Beijing, Shanghai, London, and Shenzhen. Five of the top 10 centres for FinTech are Chinese.
  • In Z/Yen Group’s recently published Smart Centres Index, focusing more broadly on innovation and technology, Chinese centres did not feature as strongly as they have in the Fintech rankings. This suggests a particular focus on Fintech in these centres.

Western Europe

  • After its strong performance in GFCI 27, centres in Western Europe had mixed fortunes in GFCI 28, with 15 centres rising in the rankings and 12 falling. However, the average drop in ratings was only 21 points (3.17%) in this region.


  • Asia/Pacific Centres had a mixed performance in GFCI 28, with ten centres falling in the rankings and 14 rising. This appears to reflect levels of confidence in the stability of Asian centres and in their approach to sustainable finance, which appears to be growing in its effect on the overall rating of centres.
  • Taipei, Chengdu, and Qingdao all rose more than 30 places in the rankings.

North America

  • North American centres showed the least change in ratings across the regions, falling on average just 9 points (1.3%).
  • Boston, Washington DC, and San Diego all improved five or more places in the rankings.
  • Six out of the eleven North American centres are in the top 20, up from four in GFCI 27.

Eastern Europe & Central Asia

  • Following a good performance in ratings in GFCI 27, all centres in this region saw their ratings fall, and only three of the 16 centres in the region—Moscow, Istanbul, and Athens—improved their rank.
  • Sofia, Baku, and Almaty fell over 30 ranking places from GFCI 27 to GFCI 28.

Middle East & Africa

  • All 13 Centres in the Middle East & Africa fell in the ratings with only Abu Dhabi, Mauritius and Cape Town improving in the rankings.

Latin America & The Caribbean

  • All centres in this region fell in the ratings, with the average rating for the region falling 54 points (8.66%).

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