Ranked: Which cities are Europe’s best financial hubs? (2024)

The US has five financial centres in the global top 10 while Europe only pulls in two, but how do European cities rank among themselves?

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In the rapidly evolving landscape of global finance, European cities are in fierce competition to establish themselves as robust financial centres - an attractive label that can bring with it crucial investment from business owners and heightened attention frompolicymakers.

In a recent ranking by the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), seven European cities feature in the world’s top 20 financial hubs.

While the US dominates the upper end of the list, with New York taking the number one spot, London continues to lead in Europe.

It has slightly closed in on the Big Apple compared to the previous rankings and places second globally, but is only just ahead of Singapore and Hong Kong in third and fourth place respectively.

How do other European cities fare and what are the factors that make a city a competitive financial centre?

Geneva soars

Switzerland’s Geneva is the only other European city to join the British capital in the top 10.

Increasing its rating by 29 points, Geneva has leapfrogged its financial rivals over the past year, according to the GFCI, climbing from the 23rd to 10th place.

The Swiss city is just five points behind the fifth place, occupied by San Francisco.

Analysts cite Switzerland’s regulatory environment and low levels of corruption as huge advantages for the financial strength of its cities.

The EU’s financial capital overtakes Paris

Frankfurt, home of the European Central Bank, has snagged the third top European spot from Paris in the latest report.

Known as the City of the Euro, Frankfurt is also the home of Germany’s central bank: the Bundesbank.

The German financial hub rose from the 17th to 14th place globally in the GFCI, whereas Paris slipped from the 14th to 15th. Only one rating point separates them, however.

Frankfurt is also among the 15 cities that participants in the survey expect to gain in significance.

The European cities rounding out the top 20 are Luxembourg (16th), Zurich (18th) and Amsterdam (19th).

Germany has five cities in the top 50

Germany is the strongest European nation when it comes to looking at the rankings on a country-by-country basis.

Despite none of them featuring in the top 10, Germany has five cities in the global top 50 list - the most of any European country.

In addition to Frankfurt, Berlin rose from 26th to 23rd place, while Munich dropped from 18th to 26th.

Stuttgart rose slightly from 47th to 46th place, whereas Hamburg fell from 43rd to 49th.

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Switzerland is the European nation with the next most cities featured in the top 50, with Lugano ranking 47th.The UK has two with Edinburgh in 34th place.

The other European cities featuring in the top 50 are Ireland’s Dublin (25th), Sweden’s Stockholm (40th), Norway’s Oslo (42nd), Italy’s Milan (45th), Spain’s Madrid (48th) and Finland’s Helsinki (50th).

Their individual scores are grouped closely together, suggesting possible changes in the next GFCI report.

British Crown Dependencies make the cut, but there’s a noticeable east-west divide

Also worthy of note are the three British Crown Dependencies, which each hold a place in the top 60. Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are ranked 52nd, 58th and 59th, respectively. They are not part of the United Kingdom but are self-governing possessions of the British Crown.

The GFCI categorises Europe into two groups: Western Europe, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, showing a clear divide between east and west.

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Up to the 60th place in the list, all of Europe’s best financial hubs are in the Western Europe group.

Kazakhstan’s Astana is ranked 60th, holding the highest place in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia grouping. Prague is next at 79th, and then Tallinn at 87th.

Away from Europe, the US scored highly, with five financial centres in the top 10, reflecting the strength of the US economy. Leading Chinese centres also featured in the top 20.

What makes a good financial hub?

According to the GFCI 34, a city’s reputation and business environment have a significant correlation with its financial competitiveness.

The report found that the Corruption Perception Index and the Economic Freedom of the World Index demonstrate the link: A city’s rating as a financial centre rises in line with its increase in economic freedom and its decrease in corruption perception.

Ranked: Which cities are Europe’s best financial hubs? (4)ADVERTIsem*nT

A city’s branding is also a significant factor influencing the competitiveness of financial centres.

Analysts say that a positive city reputation, built through factors such as safety, stability, cultural offerings, and quality of life, can attract businesses, professionals, and investors.

Ranked: Which cities are Europe’s best financial hubs? (2024)

FAQs

Ranked: Which cities are Europe’s best financial hubs? ›

While the US dominates the upper end of the list, with New York taking the number one spot, London continues to lead in Europe.

What is the top financial hub in Europe? ›

London Remains Top Pick in Europe for Financial Investors; Paris Comes Second.

Which city is the financial capital of Europe? ›

London. London is not just an important European hub, but a global one. The city is one of the most visited places on earth and is among the most preferred places to do business. London is a well-known center for foreign exchange and bond trading in addition to banking activities and insurance services.

Where is the best place to work in finance in Europe? ›

Global financial hubs – London, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, and Luxembourg—are among Europe's leading financial hubs. These cities host major financial institutions, investment banks, and asset management firms.

What European city became a financial center? ›

Antwerp became an important center for international trade and finance due to its strategic location and the presence of the Antwerp Stock Exchange. It attracted merchants from all over Europe and became a hub for banking, currency exchange, and the diamond trade.

What is the financial powerhouse of Europe? ›

Germany is the largest economy in Europe, currently the third largest business travel market in the world, is led by one of the most powerful women in the world and has a strong and influential voice on both European and global affairs.

Which country is the global financial hub? ›

The dominance of New York, London, and Singapore among the top global financial centers reflects their historical significance, strategic geographical positions, and adaptability to modern financial dynamics. New York has its world-renowned stock exchanges and concentration of major banking institutions.

Where is the financial center of the world? ›

New York City.

New York City remains the largest centre for trading in public equity and debt capital markets, driven in part by the size and financial development of the U.S. economy. The NYSE and NASDAQ are the two largest stock exchanges in the world.

Is Frankfurt the financial hub of Europe? ›

The city of Frankfurt is the most important financial hub in continental Europe and a key center of financial market stability. It features a unique concentration of European and national supervisory bodies, international banks, insurance companies and legal practitioners.

Is Paris a bigger financial centre than London? ›

It is because of these ancillary “services” that London has been the second-largest global financial centre since the post-war period, well ahead of Paris. London still employs over a million people in the financial sector, 25% more than Paris.

What are the financially strongest countries in Europe? ›

Germany

Which country in Europe is best to work as accountant? ›

Luxembourg – Average CA salary: €75,000 per year

Luxembourg is another country known for offering ample high-paying jobs for chartered accountants. It is one of the wealthiest European countries, home to a booming financial sector and a range of multinational corporations.

Which country in Europe has highest job opportunities? ›

Germany. Germany is among the best European countries to work with because of its job market. With an employment rate of 77.50%, the job market is diverse enough to cater to people with varying levels of education and qualifications across various fields.

What European city became a thriving center of commerce? ›

Florence was one of them. The city's location on the Arno River made it an important center for trade and commerce. Florence became the hub of woolen-cloth trading for all of Europe. In the early 14th centu- ry, Florence also became Europe's banking center.

What city became the richest trading city in Europe? ›

Venice, which is situated at the north end of the Adriatic Sea, was for hundreds of years the richest and most powerful centre of Europe, the reason being that it gained large-scale profits from the adjacent middle European markets.

Is Amsterdam a financial hub? ›

Amsterdam has a rich history of financial innovation. The world's first central bank, stock exchange and limited company were all established here. Today, Amsterdam is the centre of the Dutch banking sector and a force in fintech, making it one of Europe's leading financial centres where good grows better.

What is the largest financial institution in Europe? ›

1. HSBC. British financial institution HSBC Holdings PLC is the largest bank in Europe in terms of assets, with a total balance sheet of 2.6 trillion euros. HSBC is a British multinational bank and financial services company operating in over 60 countries.

What are the top 3 financial centers in the world? ›

International Financial Centers Ranking, 2023
RankCityRating
1London960
2New York957
3Singapore956
4Hong Kong948
111 more rows
Apr 2, 2024

Why is Switzerland a financial hub? ›

The reasons are found in Switzerland's business-friendly legislation. Bank confidentiality and low taxes are of particular importance in this regard. Switzerland's financial centre gained an important position in the world market due to the country's neutrality during the two world wars.

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