Tel Aviv has vaulted into the ranks of the world’s leading financial centers for the first time ever, although it placed just 32nd in a field of 79.
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Tel Aviv made the Global Financial Centres Index with a score of 653, putting it between Rio De Janeiro and Melbourne, in the rankings published this week by the Z/Yen Group. Tel Aviv was the only new city to join the rankings this year and ranked third for Middle Eastern financial centers, behind Qatar and Dubai.
But the report, which has been published since 2007, also categorized Tel Aviv as unpredictable and susceptible to changes.
The GFCI ranking is important because it is used by multinational companies as a tool for deciding where to set up new offices, said Shmuel Ben-Tovim, a former Israeli economic attache in London leading the drive to establish Tel Aviv’s finance credentials. Being included on the list, he said, would likely draw new foreign companies to Israel.
“The city's ranking already beats several traditional European centers like Munich, Rome, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Milan,” said Ben-Tovim, who founded the non-profit City TLV to promote Tel Aviv as an international financial center. He said that his organization’s goal is to have the city rank among the world’s top 20 financial centers.
What helped boost Tel Aviv was that both Citigroup and Barclays have established financial research centers in the city, following a new government initiative to promote the investment in the financial sector.
Indeed, Tel Aviv did not enter the ranks of world’s top financial centers organically and without any help. The Tel Aviv Municipality launched a campaign called Global City, under which officials lobbied senior executives in New York and London to cite Tel Aviv in an opinion survey used by GFCI. “On the objective elements, Tel Aviv already placed on the index, but it hadn’t received enough points from executives,” Ben-Tovim said.
The rankings are based on two equally weighted components. The first is a score based on close to 300 indices, like level of education, quality of life, innovation and financial exports, and the second on a poll of senior executives in London and New York regarding their experience working with financial centers around the world. This year, London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore again placed at the top of the GFCI.
According to Ben-Tovim, Tel Aviv’s strong showing is due to its innovative capacities, including developing technology for the financial services industry.