The most powerful financial hubs

  • New York Stock Exchange
Published last month

Home to many of the world's largest companies and most government and financial institutions, global financial hubs play a crucial role in defining success. If you're looking to invest or expand your business abroad, connectivity, infrastructure, efficient regulatory frameworks and tax benefits are some of the factors you might be looking for. gives you an insight into the global financial hubs around the world according to a study by Z/Yen Group.

North America

Manhattan, New York Financial District
Nick Starichenko /

In spite of many emerging megacities and economies around the world, New York remains the most powerful financial hub in the world. Manhattan, for example, is at the heart of finance related activities in the USA. The New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are some of the leading financial institutions in New York along with many American and multinational companies that contribute significantly to the US economy and trade. No wonder why the Big Apple is still one of the world's largest and most prosperous megacities. Over the years, Toronto, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Vancouver also made it to the list of North America's largest financial hubs. Moving up 12 steps to the 36th spot, Washington has also seen much improvement in its business climate.


Canary Wharf, London

In spite of uncertainties brought about by Brexit negotiations, London remains the largest financial hub in Europe and 2nd globally. Square Mile and The City are home to some of the world's largest and most prestigious firms. Besides being a banking and insurance hub, London is also a key area for foreign exchange and bond trading. Many multinational companies have chosen London for its infrastructure, openness and connectivity. Zurich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Vienna and Milan are other European cities with great potential due to recent improvements. Financial hubs like Frankfurt, are able to strengthen their position regarding trade and business thanks to Brexit related issues. Also, cities like Dublin, Munich, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm have been attracting foreign investors and entrepreneurs thanks to their economic prosperity and favourable business climate.


Hong Kong financial district

Hong Kong is another global financial hub that stands out in Asia-Pacific thanks to its dynamism and prosperity. It's worth noting that Hong Kong ranks among the best countries around the world for economic freedom and efficiency – which is probably it attracts foreign professionals, entrepreneurs and investors in such large numbers. Market liberalism and laissez-faire capitalism are some of the factors that have contributed to the rise of Hong Kong as a financial hub. Today, the Special Administrative Region (SAR) is home to more than 200 banks and other financial institutions and a large number of local and multinational companies engaged in a range of spheres. Besides Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney and Beijing are some of the region's major financial hubs. Over the past year, there were significant improvements in Shanghai, Sydney, Beijing, and Guangzhou.

Middle East

Dubai International Financial Centre
RastoS /

Economically and financially sound, Dubai is without any doubt the most powerful financial hub in the Middle East. With more than 2,000 registered and active companies and over 22,000 employees, the Dubai International Financial Center is a gateway for the Middle East, Africa and Southern Asia. By choosing Dubai, businesses benefit not only from an efficient regulatory framework and independent judicial system but also from ultra-modern infrastructure and openness to the global market. Other than Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Tel Aviv are other large financial hubs in the Middle East.


Cape Town cityscape

For the first time, Cape Town overtakes Johannesburg to become the leading financial hub in Africa. Cape Town owes its ranking to significant efforts made by Wesgro – which is an investment promotion agency. Today, the city can boast of a booming startup ecosystem providing a wide range of opportunities, especially in the field of financial technology. Thanks to its dynamic labour market, economic prosperity and quality education offered by its prestigious universities, Cape Town was recently named as a leading technology hub in Africa. Casablanca (28th) and Mauritius (49th) are other significant financial hubs in Africa. As a gateway between Africa and Asia, Mauritius is a major offshore financial hub in the Indian Ocean that can rely not only on its network of international treaties but also on numerous non-double taxation agreements. In recent years, the Island State became one of the most attractive destinations for investment in Africa thanks to incentives like tax benefits, a reputable jurisdiction and efficient legal and regulatory frameworks.

South America

Sao Paulo Financial District

Even though it doesn't make it in the top 50, Sao Paulo remains the largest financial hub in Latin America for various reasons including its architecture and connectivity. In spite of the recent economic turmoil, Sao Paulo is home to many local and multinational companies that are still going strong. As one of the world's wealthiest cities, Sao Paulo represents at least a third of Brazil's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With a booming entrepreneurial ecosystem, Sao Paulo is also home to many accelerators and regularly hosts startup events and conferences.

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