Singapore overtakes Hong Kong to become world's No 3 financial centre: survey

Asian centers have improved their position while the dominance of the European and American centers has eroded over time.

The Lion City has edged past its neighbor Hong Kong in the ranking of global financial centers and has landed in No 3, according to a survey by a London-based research firm.

London tops the list followed by New York, and Singapore is two notches ahead of Hong Kong, according to the report released on Wednesday by the research firm Z/Yen Group.

Of all the 10 Asian centers featured in the list, three managed to improve their position – Singapore Tokyo and Beijing, and the Japanese capital Tokyo has come in fifth.

Another noteworthy point is that Asian centers have improved their position broadly while the historical dominance of the leading centers in Western Europe and North America has eroded over time.

The mean rating of the top five centers in American and European regions is now lower than the mean of the top five centers in the Asia Pacific region, Z/Yen said.

"While London and New York still lead the field, the next three centres are all Asian," said Mark Yeandle, associate director at Z/Yen Group.

However, the two-point lead of Singapore is fairly insignificant, according to the report. It came in fourth in the previous survey in September last year, behind Hong Kong.

The semi-annual survey 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 centers "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 centers around the world covered by the survey. Evidence of a centre's performance in these spheres is drawn from a range of measures like external indexes.

The latest survey also noted that Western European centers remain "mired in uncertainty". Of the 29 centers in this region, 12 centers rose in the ratings and 17 centers fell.

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