Asian cities to become top finance centres by 2022 - survey

LONDON Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:00pm EDT

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LONDON Aug 27 (Reuters) - Top UK traders and dealmakers bruised by intense banker bashing believe an Asian city will take over as the world's dominant financial centre within 10 years, according to a survey.

They also relegated London to third place from second as their preferred location behind Singapore and New York, the poll by headhunters Astbury Marsden found.

Nearly two thirds of 450 British investment bankers surveyed said Hong Kong, Shanghai or Singapore would be the top global finance centre in 10 years.

One fifth felt London would be the world leader in 2022 and one sixth said New York would hold no.1 spot.

"A fast growing, low tax and bank friendly environment like Singapore stands as a perfect antidote to the comparatively high tax and anti-banker sentiment of London and New York," said Mark Cameron, operations chief at Astbury Marsden.

The annual 'Preferred Location Survey' also found Singapore is the city where British bankers would most like to live, claiming 31 percent of the vote, up from 27 percent last year.

New York was second with a fifth of votes while London slipped to third with 19 percent of the votes versus 22 percent last year.

"Financial centres in the West have taken a real battering since the start of the financial crisis," said Cameron.

"Cities like Singapore and Hong Kong have been quick to capitalise on setbacks in London and New York, courting investment banks and reacting to demand from expats," he added.

Investment banks and trading firms in New York and Europe have struggled to maintain profitability in recent years amid economic uncertainty partly linked to the ongoing euro zone debt crisis.

Bankers and traders in the United States and Europe also face the prospect of draconian restrictions on their riskier practices, moves likely to impact future profitability.

Commodities trader Trafigura said in May that Singapore would become its main trading centre as it seeks to tap demand in Asia, dealing a blow to its former home Switzerland.

Asian banks, in contrast to their Western peers, avoided much of the damage inflicted by the latest financial crisis and have benefited in recent years from solid economic growth and a booming commodities market across the Asia-Pacific region. (Editing by David Cowell)

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