Page last updated at 07:09 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 08:09 UK

UK 'becomes top financial centre'

City of London
Reports suggest some investors are turning their backs on the UK

The UK has overtaken the United States to be ranked as the World's leading financial centre, despite doubts about its economic stability.

The rankings, compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF), put the UK top of the list of the 55 most financially- developed countries.

The US slipped from first to third place, behind the UK and Australia.

But in stability rankings, the UK and US were 37th and 38th, below Mexico and Panama and only just above Venezuela.

Norway, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Chile led the financial stability rankings, while Argentina, Kazakhstan and Ukraine were at the foot of the table.

'Trade-off'

The ranking system takes into account 120 variables, including the size and depth of capital markets.

While developed nations still lead the overall rankings, they have performed much worse than emerging countries, according to WEF chief operating officer Kevin Steinberg.

"This year they dropped so much that they don't have a lap of advantage in relation to emerging countries anymore," he said.

Growing financial instability was the main issue for developed countries in the past year, the report said, along with a lack of access to capital markets and banking services.

"Countries with more regulation in financial systems are more stable, but access to credit is much weaker," said RGE Global Monitor's Nouriel Roubini, a co-author of the study. "There is a trade-off."

The UK overtaking the US comes amid reports that several hedge funds are moving from London to New York because of less tough regulation.



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