BUSINESS

Canadian Cities Jump In Rankings Of Top Financial Centres, But Calgary Plummets

But Brexit and Trump are throwing a question mark around the future of many cities.

09/14/2017 10:11 EDT | Updated 09/14/2017 14:49 EDT
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Toronto is the seventh most important financial centre in the world in the latest rankings from the Global Financial Centres Index.

Canada is a slightly bigger deal in the world of high finance than it used to be, according to a new survey.

Toronto ranked as the world's seventh most important capital of finance in the latest edition of the twice-yearly Global Financial Centres Index, published by British think tank Z/Yen and the China Development Institute.

That's up three spots from 10th place in the rankings six months ago.

Montreal ranked at 12th place, up from 14th in the last survey, while Vancouver stayed steady at 17th place.

Despite concerns about Brexit, London retained its first-place ranking, and New York remained in second place. The two cities have been fighting it out for top spot in the survey since 2013.

Global Financial Centres Index

Among Canadian cities, only Calgary dropped in the rankings — down 22 spots to 71st, from 49th in the previous survey.

The survey doesn't delve deeply into the reasons behind the moves, but Calgary's decline is likely linked to the departure of several major international oil firms from the oilsands this year.

ExxonMobil, Shell and Statoil are among the companies that have sold off oilsands assets or left the oilsands altogether in recent months.

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Centre Street leading into Calgary's downtown. The city has seen a steep drop in its rankings among global financial centres, which coincided with the backing away of several multinational companies from Alberta's oil patch.

The index uses an ongoing survey of thousands of respondents to give each city a rating out of 1,000, based on a number of criteria: Business environment, human capital, infrastructure, financial sector development, and reputation.

If there is one notable trend in the latest report, it's that the vast majority of the top financial centres — 23 out of 25 — saw their scores fall.

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"There is an overall drop in confidence amongst the leading centres," the report noted. It linked the phenomenon indirectly to the rise of Donald Trump, Brexit and other signs of rising populism in advanced economies.

"Protectionism and barriers to international trade concern many, especially in the U.S.," the report noted.

"The decline of Canadian centres was less severe than the falls of the U.S. centres."

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