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Hong Kong Rated Leading Financial Centre

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

15 December 2011

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has disclosed that Hong Kong has overtaken the United States and the United Kingdom to top its 2011 fourth annual Financial Development Report.

The WEF’s study ranks 60 of the world's leading financial systems and capital markets, analysing the drivers of financial system development that support economic growth. The seven pillars assessed are: institutional environment, business environment, financial stability, banking financial services, non-banking financial services, financial markets and financial access.

It was said that, as the first Asian financial centre to achieve this rank with a score of 5.16 (out of 7), Hong Kong’s position (up from fourth in 2010) was bolstered by strong scores in non-banking financial services, such as initial public offerings (IPOs) and insurance.

Although it fell one spot to second place, the US’s overall score remained almost unchanged compared to last year. While financial stability continues to be a concern, the US was able to offset this weakness with strong financial intermediation results. Particular strengths in this area include highly developed foreign exchange and derivatives markets, as well as comparatively robust mergers and acquisition and securitization activities.

The UK declined in both score and rank, and was placed third overall, with the greatest contributing factors to its decline being lower scores on securitization and IPO activity. Singapore was placed fourth.

Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary, John C Tsang said: "We welcome the WEF's recognition of Hong Kong's rising competitiveness as an international financial centre. We are pleased with the WEF's encouraging acknowledgement of our strengths in financial access, business environment and banking financial services, and in particular, our strong performance in some financial services such as IPO activity and insurance."

"We will continue to strengthen Hong Kong on various aspects as a leading financial centre and as the Mainland's offshore renminbi centre," he added.

TAGS: business | banking | financial services | capital markets | insurance | mergers and acquisitions (M&A) | international financial centres (IFC) | Singapore | United Kingdom | offshore | Hong Kong | United States | services

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