London and New York

The US replaced the UK (and Empire) as the world’s biggest economy nearly 150 years ago, yet London essentially remains on a par with New York as an IFC. London main advantages, seem to arise from various cross-border transactions in diverse currencies.

Some of the pre-eminence of London and New York would seem to come from their advantages of first movers (financial centres of world’s biggest economies, or economic blocs, at various times), and the related use of English as the international business language.

There are possibly a number of reasons why London has been able to maintain a position at the top of the IFC table, but the most fundamental may be that the new economic power house (ie the US) shared a common legal system and a common language with the precious economic power house (ie the UK). It seems very doubtful that London would have been able to maintain its IFC position if the new economic powerhouse at that time had been a country like China (with a different language and legal system).

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