Slide 1

The end of March 2018 saw Mark Yeandle and Mike Wardle in Qingdao for the launch of the Global Financial Centres Index 23 (GFCI 23).  The launch took place as part of an Anglo-Sino event focused on the topic of how to plan and develop a financial centre, with the Jianliang Financial District developing quickly as part of Qingdao’s development plan.

The launch event included a key note speech from Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London, and panel discussions involving senior representatives of London and Qingdao’s financial markets and academic communities.  The event highlighted the speed of development of financial centres in China.

Mark Yeandle presented the headlines from GFCI 23 including:

  • London retaining its place as the leading financial centre, closely followed by New York and with all leading centres receiving improved ratings;
  • The top five centres in the Asia/Pacific region now outperform North America and Western Europe;
  • The gap between the ratings of the top five centres is narrowing.

Mark also set out a model for the development of a financial centre, involving a bottom up approach, moving from a focus on business environment and infrastructure, through to human capital and financial sector development, leading to enhanced reputation.  He emphasised that a solid base of experience and expertise was what led to a solid reputation.

Mike Wardle presented the highlights from the Global Green Finance Index 1, launched earlier in March, noting that China had featured well in the first edition of the index, particularly on the depth of green finance activity, and that centres that provided leadership on green finance scored well.

We were lucky enough to have a Sunday morning free to explore the old City of Qingdao, the street plan for which was laid out by German concession holders in the early 20th century.  Qingdao is of course the centre of beer production in China, with the Tsingtao brewery on Beer Street dating back to 1903.  After a busy morning exploring the sea front, the German cathedral and the back streets, we somehow found ourselves in Beer Street sharing a jug of raw beer. 

This turned out to be useful training for a welcome banquet at which we found that making toasts was an important element of the evening.  We learnt a new Chinese word in the process – Ganbei – the equivalent of ‘bottoms up’.  With each toast requiring the guests to drain their glass, we also learned to limit how full our glasses were each time they were topped up. So from building a financial centre from the bottom up to practising the art of ganbei with our hosts, we built strong bonds with our generous hosts.