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Wed 23 Sep 2009 10:56 AM

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Dubai no longer world's fastest rising financial centre

Emirate also falls in list of favoured locations for companies to open new offices - index.

Dubai has dropped from the top of a list of the fastest rising financial centres in the world, it was announced on Wednesday.

The latest independent Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) showed that Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen are now considered the most likely to become more significant on the world stage, a position held by Dubai in last year’s index.

Dubai also fell to fifth in the list of financial centres where international companies saw future offices being opened, behind four Asian-based centres, according to the results of the GFCI questionnaire.

Overall, London and New York led the way but Hong Kong and Singapore both saw their ratings increase and have joined them in a top four.

Dubai was also named in the top five centres perceived to have been affected most by the global economic meltdown. The GFCI questionnaire showed that while New York and London were deemed the worst hit, Dubai was listed fourth.

The report, which is based on a wide survey of leading global financial players, suggested that the rise of Asia was part of a more general return of confidence among respondents - with all but three centres (Dublin, Glasgow and Gibraltar) recording stable or higher than previous ratings.

GFCI 5, published in March 2009, saw each of the 62 centres listed experience an overall ratings drop in the face of global economic turmoil. Now, six months later, the overall ratings have returned to the levels exhibited in last September’s GFCI 4.

Dubai, ranked 23rd in the March 2009 index, is now ranked 21st and is still the best ranked in the Middle East. Qatar comes 43rd in the list, with Bahrain (44) and Riyadh (68) out of a total of 75 financial centres assessed.

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation, which commissioned the research said: "This independent research demonstrates three trends: cautious optimism that the global financial services industry is showing signs of recovery, further movement of the financial business centre of gravity towards fast-developing markets - especially in Asia; and the emergence of a 'Premier League' of economically and socially interconnected cities."

The GFCI tracks the underlying competitiveness of financial centres. It is commissioned every six months by the City of London Corporation. The rankings are compiled by the independent Z/Yen Group from surveys of finance professionals around the world and competitiveness indicators.

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Mohd 10 years ago

We have state of the art technology and we are Hub of the middle east. We are simply the best in the world. This is just a PR prop from UK to prove that London is the best.

paul 10 years ago

It is interesting that a survey among financial professionals predicting which cities they see the most likely to become significant financial centres can change so radically in 6 months. It rather devalues the usefulness of the survey when you think about it, as well as casting significant doubt on the abilities of those who make a living by supposedly being able to read economic trends.

Andy 10 years ago

Getting a permit or business license to operate in Dubai is beyond costly and other fees and you get moving out. When people move out of Dubai all the numbers start dropping. I have been in Asia for about 17 years now as an expat and there is no way on earth you can compare Hong-Kong to Dubai as a financial center. For one thing if you leave your account untouched in Dubai for 6 months then it gets closed down or you have to reactivate it for some ridiculous fee. Who on earth wants to place money in an account that gets closed every 6 months?? In order for a financial place to grow there needs to be a place where financial executives can live without paying an arm and a leg to live and most importantly a place where they can settle or call home. Nothing can grow without a base and currently expats don't get bases in Dubai.

Fahd Shafiq 10 years ago

Dubai is suffering as a Financial center just like any such hub around the world and it's really interesting to see how the media and even some professionals in this region quickly dismiss any acheivement Dubai or UAE has made in general as a mere fad. The fact remains that Dubai has invested in this sector at the right time and will be the first to learn from the mistakes and set new standards of excellence again. The vision to establish Dubai as a top player amongst the financial capitals of the world is very much in sight especially in Islamic Finance and with the quality of professionals now Dubai bound from around the world and bit of more investment in R&D would make Dubai a leader in financial inovation as well! This is only the beginning...

Jon 10 years ago

Moh'd - that's a joke, right? Do you actually understand financial markets? You think a glossy facade makes Dubai the "best in the world". Sadly, it's superficial comments like this that hold this city back. Companies no longer want to set up here as it is no longer a "cheap" place to do business, as with most things, Dubai has priced itself out of the market through greed. Dubai has achieved a lot, and let's face it, has led in the Middle East where others have struggled to follow. But it's time now to get real. Why would a company want to set up in DIFC with the highest office rent in the region? Figures published recently in "Business 24/7" shows it to be 5 times higher than Bahrain. It's reasons like this financial services companies no longer wish to come here.

Mohd 10 years ago

Jon, Bahrain does not have a decent Internet connection! We are talking about state of art technology that Dubai has. We are regional Hub as we have connection to by air and sea to entire world like no other country in the world. And Why do you think you are still here and not in Bahrain?

The Consultant 10 years ago

Mohammed, I had to smile, as your comments reminded me in a funny way of my dear mother, who lived in the UAE in the 1980s. She regularly used to declare that KT and GN were "much better than the British papers". Why? Clearly not for their insightful reporting or their well-written features - no, she thought they were great because they used (for the time) advanced printing technology that meant she didn't get newsprint on her hands when reading them, bless her. She did seem a bit puzzled when I suggested that perhaps the quality of the content might be the critical factor in deciding whether a paper was good or not, rather than whether you had to wash your hands after reading..... The same priciple applies to financial centres. What matters is the quality and variety of products and services on offer, the availability of a suitably skilled workforce, consistent and confidence-inspiring legal system etc. Superficial factors like how shiny the buildings are or the fact that the internet connections are a bit faster than elsewhere (I'd be surprised if this is actually true, it's certainly not on my ADSL connection at home) do not move a financial centre up the world rankings. Dubai is an newly-established financial market and is still in it's infancy. Looking to the longer term, I believe it has good prospects, and it certainly can perform a valuable niche role as a gateway to the wider Middle East, but to suggest that it is the "best in the world" when compared to financial giants like New York and London at this time is a bit of an exaggeration, to say the least!

Mohammed 10 years ago

You are really dreaming if you think Dubai stands a chance against New York or London as a financial centre.