Johannesburg has improved its placing among the top financial centres in the world, according to The Banker’s 2017 International Financial Centre rankings.
South Africa’s economic hub climbed one place to 39th in the world, up from 40th in 2016. Johannesburg is not only the highest-ranked financial centre in South Africa, but also the entire African continent as the only African city ranked.
The Banker’s ranking of IFCs is based on data ranging from financial markets indicators to economic potential to business environment factors.
A total of 82 indicators are used in the analysis, focusing on the level of international business and the value offered to institutions seeking to expand their international operations.
In recognition of the fact that data for specialised financial centres is seldom consistent with that for mainland financial centres, The Banker surveyed each specialised IFC and compiled a separate table using information relevant to these locations.
Publicly available data sources were used as well as The Banker Database and fDi Markets.
According to the group’s findings, London remains the leading financial hub in the world, offering a “still unbeatable combination of size and international appeal”.
“It continues to attract, as well as generate, the largest number of foreign direct investment projects in financial services: 232 and 532, respectively, for the four years to the end of 2016,” The Banker said.
“It hosts the biggest outstanding volumes of international debt securities, based on the issuer’s country of residence ($2,964 nillion) and a healthy 18.83% ratio of foreign listings of the total floating on its stock market.”
London’s financial services cluster is also expanding, with 1,208 new firms launching operations between June 2016 and early May 2017, bringing the total to 49,185, the group said.
Tracking behind London is New York, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Amsterdam.
New York, The Banker said, impressed with the size of its capital markets and profitability, with its banking sector earning $88.7 billion in pre-tax profits, alone. This was four times more than London.
Johannesburg, ranked 39th, is ahead of Munich, Germany, and just below Shenzen, China.