UAE - According to new data, Dubai reinforced its status as an international financial hub of choice by climbing one rank to remain among the world's top 20 vibrant financial centres.

Ranking 18th in the latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), Dubai is the only city in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa region to take the prestigious spot alongside other financial powerhouses such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.

While New York easily kept the top spot in the index, London held on to second place as Chinese cities slipped, according to the ranking published on Friday.

The index, published by the Z/Yen Group in partnership with think-tank China Development Institute, will come as a relief to London in particular after it lost access to the European Union financial market when Britain completed its journey out of the bloc's orbit last December.

"The relatively strong performance of New York and London suggests that the financial services sectors in these cities managed to sustain their performance despite radical changes in working practices during the last 18 months," said Michael Mainelli, executive chairman of Z/Yen.

With a rating of 694 points, Dubai improved phenomenal success in building an ecosystem that fosters financial industry growth. Playing a pivotal role in Dubai's transition over the past two decades as a sought-after hub for financial companies and fintechs are world class financial zones including Dubai International Financial Centre.

"Spurred by a spate of investor-friendly reforms and regulatory framework, Dubai has created a business and investment environment that rivals the world's best. The financial sector is a cornerstone of the UAE's economy and Dubai is a preferred destination for global investors, and a regional hub for international trade," said PNC Menon, chairman of Sobha Group.

"Financial markets have a key role in supporting the competitiveness of a society. The progressive vision of the leadership in Dubai as well as the far-reaching initiatives and policy reforms being introduced progressively has enabled Dubai's financial markets industry to achieve a formidable position globally," said Hani Al Hamli, Dubai Competitiveness Office (DCO) manager.

Financial industry sources said the enhanced ranking further underscores the region's economic potential and the brightening prospects of Dubai as the destination of choice for international organisations, emerging companies, and the financial technology leaders to collaborate to deliver exponential growth.

Innovative initiatives and partnerships and a series of regulatory reforms have placed the financial markets industry in Dubai at the frontier of global financial centres, showed an analysis of the financial markets in the emirate conducted by the DCO in Dubai Economic.

Citing the example of the DIFC, which has consistently ranked among the top 15 global financial centres in the last five years, and innovative trends visible in Dubai, the analysis revealed that the financial market ecosystem in the emirate is well-positioned to enable capital flows, business growth, and economic development.

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