Irish Economy
Global Financial Centres: Dublin tumbles to 70 rank from 13 in 2008; Time for Bruton to go?
By Finfacts Team
Sep 22, 2014 - 3:29 PM

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The International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), Dublin.

New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore remain the top four global financial centres. All four centres lose points in the 16th biennial GFCI ratings but retain their relative ranks. New York remains the top centre but by only one point on a scale of 1,000. Dublin's International Financial Services Centre (IFSC)  got  a ranking of 70 compared with 13 in September 2008 and is now behind Mauritius and just ahead of the Bahamas in both reputation among global financial professionals coupled with benchmarking factors - the poor ranking raises the question of the role and impact of John Bruton, former taoiseach, as an ambassador for the centre.

The IFSC was ranked at 15 in March 2007, 13 in September 2008, and 23 in September 2009.

In May 2010, John Bruton, former taoiseach, became chairman of the newly-formed financial services body, IFSC Ireland, to promote Dublin's offshore centre overseas.

It has of course been a hard sell to promote Dublin during an international bailout. Nevertheless, someone with industry experience maybe better at charming the moneymen than a retired politician.

The International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) likely also needs a retooling for different times.

GFCI 16 [pdf] provides profiles, rating and rankings for 83 financial centres, drawing on two separate sources of data - instrumental factors (external indices) and responses to an online survey. 105 factors have been used in GFCI 16, of which 42 have been updated since GFCI 15 and 4 are new.

The top financial centres have performed poorly in GFCI 16. Of the top 15 centres only two increased their ratings - - San Francisco is up eight points and Vancouver is up two. Only seven of the top 30 centres saw an increase in their ratings.

The top ten Western European centres all saw a decline in their ratings. Leading centres in the region all fell in the ratings, with Zurich, Geneva, Luxembourg and Frankfurt joining London in losing ground.

Leading Centres in Eastern Europe and Central Asia saw ratings improve. Istanbul, Almaty and Prague all saw their ratings (and ranks) improve although Moscow continues to languish with another large drop in the ratings.

Eight of the top ten Asia/Pacific centres saw a decline in their ratings. The progress made by the leading Asia/Pacific centres in GFCI 15 was reversed with Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai dropping in the ratings.

Most North American centres were down but with smaller drops than in other regions. Boston, Washington DC, Toronto and Chicago saw small declines. San Francisco saw a rise of eight points but with other centres declining, this led to a rise from 10th to 5th in the GFCI, and may also be influenced by recent high-profile technology deals.

Middle Eastern centres continue to rise in the index. There was significant upheaval in the Middle East and Africa. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh all saw improved ratings. Qatar saw a very small fall in its rating but climbed in the ranks. The African centres of Johannesburg and Casablanca both saw an improvement in their ratings which led to Johannesburg moving up 12 places to 38th and Casablanca moving up 11 places to 51st.

Offshore centres continue to struggle with reputation and regulation.

Whilst offshore centres are well ahead of their position several years ago, all offshore centres have seen their ratings decline since GFCI 15. In particular the British Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have dropped significantly in the ranks.

Mark Yeandle, associate director of the Z/Yen Group and the author of the GFCI said "The top centres are declining in relative competitiveness - two years ago there was a gap of about 140 points between 1st and 20th - that gap is now only 88."

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