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London still on top, but North American, Asian markets close in on financial center rankings

Skyline of London, which edged out New York as the globe’s top financial center.

Financial service professionals are increasingly confident in the world's leading financial centers, with a bias toward stronger and more established cities, finds the Global Financial Centres index.

London and New York remained on top of the rankings, which scored cities according to assessments collected from 2,300 financial services professionals responding to an online questionnaire. Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo also retained their places in the top five.

The 23rd edition of the index, produced by Z/Yen Partners and the China Development Institute, includes 96 centers, up from 92 in the 22nd edition. The firms researched 110 centers, using 103 instrumental factors — quantitative measures provided by third parties including the World Bank. These factors were then combined with respondent assessments and centers were given a score.

London scored 794, up from 780 last year. The remainder of the top five saw more marked increases in their scores: New York closed in on London, with its score rising to 793 from 756; Hong Kong's score grew to 781 from 744; Singapore scored 765 vs. 742; and Tokyo scored 749 up from 725 in the 2017 index.

There were two new top 10 entrants, with San Francisco at eighth place, up from 17th, and Boston rising to 10th from 19th last year. Rounding out the top 10 were Beijing and Toronto, which stayed in sixth and seventh places, respectively, and Sydney, which dropped to ninth from eight last year. Zurich fell to 16th place from ninth this year, while Beijing dropped one spot to 11th.

Centers in North America generally achieved improved ratings and ranks, showed the index.

"All the top centers have risen in the ratings," said Mark Yeandle, director of Z/Yen Partners and author of the report accompanying the index, in a news release. "London remains on top despite Brexit concerns but rose less than any other center in the top 15."