Irish

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Capital falls 10 places in 'top city' index

John Glover

Published 18/03/2014 | 02:30

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Dublin has slipped 10 places in an influential ranking of the world's leading financial centres, as cities across Europe saw their ratings plummet.

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Dublin is now 66th in the latest annual Global Financial Service Centre Index by Z/Yen Group, down from 56 just a year ago. Looking at Europe alone, it came in 19th.

The index, which was first published in 2007, takes into account five broad areas, including the business environment, finance, infrastructure, human capital and reputation.

Europe is ''in turmoil',' according to the report, with 23 out of 27 centres declining in rank.

Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Madrid and Rome, as well as Dublin, suffered ''significant falls'' the report said. Athens came in last place, 82 points behind Reykjavik, which was second to last.

Zurich was one of the only gainers, rising 12 points to reclaim fifth place from Tokyo. Stockholm rose seven places to 30th and Munich six places to 28th.

Leading the ranking was New York, which replaced London as the world's leading financial centre for the first time after the City was rocked by a series of scandals and questions over the UK's place in the EU.

New York now holds the top spot with a "shaky, statistically insignificant" two-point lead, according to Michael Mainelli, chairman of Z/Yen Group. Competition is heating up, with Hong Kong and Singapore, the two leading Asian centres, narrowing the gap between themselves and the top two to less than 30 points on a scale of 1,000, the index shows.

London fell the most of any city in the top 50. Scandals including banks abusing their clients by selling unneeded insurance, manipulation of financial benchmarks and trading losses, have combined to damage its standing, just as plans for a referendum on EU membership cast doubt on the terms of its access to that market.

"London needs a reputation that everyone who comes will be treated fairly and can compete fairly," said Mr Mainelli.

"Without the large domestic economies behind New York and Hong Kong, London needs to act more like a Singaporean city state or have the backing of a European Union domestic economy."

London, the destination of choice for Irish finance graduates seeking work overseas, has also suffered because the UK's place in the EU isn't certain and because it isn't clear that Scotland will remain in the union, according to the research.

Tax predictability has also become an issue; while the UK's immigration debate and attempts to hold down the number of migrants have made the UK appear "unwelcoming" to foreign workers and visitors, it said.

New centres are catching up with the traditional leaders, the index showed, reducing the distance between the first and the 10th to 75 points from 117 three years ago, amid a shakeout in the Asian rankings.

Leading centres such as Tokyo, Seoul and Shenzen are doing "significantly better" than weaker ones such as Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta and Mumbai, according to the report.

In the Middle East, Qatar was the leading centre, followed by Dubai; while Riyadh has gained 16 places and Bahrain 12.

Irish Independent

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