Not every day do we get what appears to be good news on the much bruited-about topic of the US’s global competitiveness.  But courtesy of today’s FT we have just that, in New  York ties with London for finance crown

A consultancy with the New Age-y name of Z/Yen, commissioned by the City of London Corporation, prepares a semi-annual “Global Financial Centres Index” and this year’s results put the Big Apple and Big Ben in a dead heat at 775 points apiece.  Although the methodology is something of a black box, it ” combines a survey of financial professionals with factors such as office rental rates, airport satisfaction and transport.”  A total of 75 global centers worldwide are ranked, with Hong Kong and Singapore (3rd and 4th, respectively) making sizable gains on the Atlantic Anglo pair.

New York fared better than London for business environment, availability of people and infrastructure, even though those participating in the survey agreed that New York had taken the bigger hit from the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, London hurt its own cause by raising the top personal income tax rate to 50%, along with a 50% payroll tax on all bonuses over £25,000.  (France and Germany pulled similar stunts; the US, of course, has at least so far not.)  Here are the top 10 cities:


Meanwhile, I was in front of about 100 managing partners, executive directors, and other senior law firm leaders here in New York last month and the sponsor of the event had kindly agreed with my suggestion that we arm attendees with wireless polling devices.

One of the questions I asked was “Five years from now, it will be clear that the greatest growth in demand for corporate/financial legal services is in:”


You can see that New York garnered a handsome 25% of the votes (multiple selections were not allowed).  In order, people voted for:

  • China, including Hong Kong:  31%
  • New York:  25%
  • The rest of Asia, including Japan and India:  22%
  • The EU, and Central & South America:  Tied at 8% apiece
  • London:  6%
  • The rest of the US:  0%

Another way of looking at this is that between them, New York and Asia-writ-large had 78% of total support, while the entire rest of the world had (obviously) only 22%.

If you’ve been to China lately, you know that as far as the Chinese are concerned, there are only two economies that matter:  Theirs and the US.

There may be life in this little old narrow island yet.

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