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Financial Market Pecking Order Survives Crisis Unchanged

The following chart (courtesy Z/Yen Group [pdf] & Financial Times) lists the world’s top ten financial centers.

A couple of noteworthy things about this chart:

  1. 4 of the 10 centers are in the US, UK, or Canada and 2 more — Hong Kong and Singapore — originated as British colonies, continue to have a close financial relationship with Britain, and they use UK-based legal systems. Take a look at the whole list in the Z/Yen report via the link above: in the top 20 centers, 11 are in the US, UK, Canada, or Australia.
  2. The financial crisis has neither created new rivals nor knocked the old centers off their perches. When the crisis hit in 2008, the commentariat rose as one to proclaim the death of “Anglo-Saxon” capitalism and the global financial culture that it spawned. New financial centers with smarter rules and closer links to governments were going to drive the tired old Anglophones to the wall. Hasn’t happened.

The wide reports of the doom of the Anglosphere were, as usual, premature. Financial power changes slowly over time; Amsterdam was once the world’s premier financial center in the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic. Even today it ranks 33rd. History seems to be accelerating a bit, but it may still take London another hundred years or more to fall as far as Amsterdam has.


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  • Anthony

    WRM, it has been said that every shock to the financial system must result in casualties. But, those financials that are fit to live will remain and thrive – obviously the Anglosphere based financial systems according to chart ratings are not disappearing anytime soon.

  • Toni

    Given where the FT is housed, one has to wonder whether the Z/Yen Group skewed its rankings to ensure that London is #1, not NYC.

    Or not. Still, it’s curious that the City won over Wall Street, which buys politicians and staffs regulatory agencies en masse. Does the City do that in the U.K., too?

  • Tom Richards

    Toni – There isn’t quite the same degree of regulatory capture via staffing, but political capture of both major parties in the UK is alive and well. Opposition to bank bailouts, for example, is very much the province of politicians on the libertarian and paleo-socialist fringes only.

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