financial centres

The competitition to attract financial business in the Gulf is hotting up.

Dubai’s financial centre says it will slash telecommunications rates as it seeks to sustain growth amid increasing competition from neighbours such as Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The DIFC is set this year to roll out a technology transit zone within its data centre, offering prices that can compete with London and other western cities to ease costs for trading desks and asset managers. Read more

By Simon Rabinovitch and James Fontanella-Khan

Just two weeks on from George Osborne’s promise to accord special treatment to Chinese banks to draw them to London, one of the biggest has inaugurated its new European headquarters – in Luxembourg.

The opening of China Construction Bank’s European office in Luxembourg is a reminder that for all the controversy surrounding Osborne’s regulatory concessions, there is still a big question about how successful he will actually be in persuading Chinese banks to scale up their London operations.

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Britain: quite safe, actually

Monday’s storm in southern England may cost insurers around $500m, and the economic impact will be greater still. But for all the media’s headlines about killer storms and more chaos to come, London will be relatively untouched by the flux in weather for the near future.

In fact, London and Paris are the only cities facing a “low risk” from the impacts of climate change, according to a new report from Maplecroft, a risk consultancy. For cities at greater risk, look elsewhere. Read more

The UK’s decision to launch an Islamic bond has been a long time coming. For a decade the prospect has been raised at the many Islamic finance conferences that have been held in London; Ed Balls, when he was City of London minister, announced the first Shariah-compliant government bonds from the UK Treasury back in April 2007.

The rationale then, as now, was to bolster London’s standing as an international financial centre. The logic then, as now, was that London ought to offer everything it can to financial markets, and that if launching a sovereign sukuk bond helps to create a benchmark for others to issue against, then that’s what it should do so as not to miss out. Read more

From time to time concerns are raised that Hong Kong could one day be eclipsed by financial centres on the Chinese mainland, notably Shanghai. But such fears are overblown according to a new report from HSBC’s Donna Kwok, which says Hong Kong has quite enough advantages to avoid being put in the shade any time soon. Read more

Dubai has long been the regional hub for the oil-rich Gulf states, but the ambitious city state is never one to rest on its laurels.

The emirate has for years been touting itself as the central node for 2bn people, spanning the Middle East, the subcontinent, central Asia and eastern Africa. Now, even West Africa, an eight-hour flight away, is on its radar. Read more

Financial centres around the world falling over themselves for a piece of the rapidly growing market for dim sum bonds – renminbi currency bonds sold outside the Chinese mainland. Robin Wigglesworth looks at how London has positioned itself near the top of the queue.

The Warsaw Stock Exchange has long been hungry to play a role beyond just Poland – the peripatetic chief executive Ludwik Sobolewski has illustrated that in his attempts pull in new listings from across the region. Now the exchange is making that formal by launching a new WIG-CEE index.

The index can include companies from a country with at least two listings on the WSE as long as they come from different sectors. The 25-company list includes firms from the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary, Estonia, Bulgaria and Lithuania. Read more

In the run up to Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, a favourite topic of debate was whether Shanghai would supplant Hong Kong as China’s financial centre.

Fifteen years on, the subject hasn’t lost its appeal. Last week, Chatham House revived the debate and added Taipei and the stock market in Shenzhen for good measure to the financial market beauty parade. Read more

Turkey has been feeling good about itself of late- its economy has been roaring ahead, its diplomatic role has grown and its government has enjoyed an enviable record of electoral success.

But three lists out this week – covering such diverse fields as Iranian sanctions, international financial centres, and freedom of religion –  signal that a correction of sorts could be in store for that booming sense of importance. Read more

For Dubai, the Arab spring has been a boon, in finance as much as tourism. Dubai’s financial centre says financial houses, including some from the competing banking hub of strife-torn Bahrain, are taking advantage of Dubai’s status as a safe port amid the storm of regional unrest.

The Dubai International Financial Centre says several banks are relocating staff to the centre, helping the tax-free financial hub grow by seven per cent to 848 companies last year. Read more

It’s an ambitious to-do list. Monday’s announcement by China’s economic planning agency of its plans to turn Shanghai into the global centre for renminbi trading, clearing and pricing by 2015 is part of a broader aim to make the city a full international financial centre by 2020.

But where does Shanghai rank now? And does it really matter which financial centre is top? Read more

Jobseekers, take note. The financial industry may be shedding thousands of employees in New York and London, but so far the wave of cuts has yet to crash on the shores of Hong Kong, Asia’s pre-eminent financial centre.

Until recently, the pattern of hiring and firing in Hong Kong’s securities industry was something of a mystery. No longer – thanks to David Webb, a corporate governance activist and an expert in computer coding. Read more


Mongolia may be one of the most popular investment destinations for resources funds and miners today. But this year the Mongolian Stock Exchange index has tanked – plummeting 40 per cent from a high in February – even as investors continue to bet on the growth of this largely nomadic, resource-rich country. Read more

Update intellectual property laws: check. Build vast new subway system: check. Start internationalising the renminbi: check. Teach more English to graduates: check. Modernise stock market: check. Increase taxes on foreigners so that expatriates in China can enjoy Chinese healthcare and pensions: hey, wait a minute. Read more