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The success of financial centres around the world depends on one critical factor - people.

Proof that people are the most important factor in banking

It’s a little ironic that the UK has been so quick to bash its bankers when the financial services sector is such a prominent part of the country’s economy. OK, there was that global financial crisis and all, but London’s dominance as a financial sector is not down to the gleaming towers in Canary Wharf and the City, or the standard of living in the UK capital – it’s down to the people it manages to attract.

The latest rankings of global financial centres from Z/Yen are out and it’s the usual suspects at the top of the tree – New York has continued to displace London at the top, while the Asian financial centres are also in the top five.


The table below is a breakout of the rankings by sub-category. The column we’d like to draw your attention to is ‘human capital’, which shows the relative abilities of each of the financial centres to attract and retain talent, provide training and development for those in the industry and offer a decent quality of life.

While factors like the regulatory environment (a particularly strangling influence in London and New York) and access to international financial markets (something touted by the likes of Dubai and other European centres looking to displace London) are important, the criteria most likely to influence the rankings is the availability of skilled personnel.

In other words, any financial centre which continues to squeeze its bankers and make the industry less appealing for talent – whether that’s localisation projects in Singapore or Dubai that are turning off internationally mobile financial services professionals or the political rhetoric surrounding bankers in the UK – is unlikely to be a prominent financial centre for very long.


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AUTHORPaul Clarke

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