The Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) is a global ranking of international financial centres, first launched in March 2007. Since then, a GFCI report is updated every March and September, allowing financial centres to gauge where they stand globally and identify areas for improvement. This information is used to guide crucial policy and investment decisions. It also allows businesses to identify suitable places for relocation or expansion.

The world’s most authoritative comparison of leading financial centres, the GFCI draws on over 100 pieces of instrumental data and over 29,000 financial centre assessments from an online survey to rank financial centres on five areas of competitiveness: Business Environment, Human Capital, Infrastructure, Financial Sector Development and Reputation.

The GFCI survey asks respondents to identify financial centres they are familiar with and rate them as regions in which to conduct business. As technological advancement continues to transform the sector, a new element has been added: ranking centres as locations for fintech.

GFCI insights are helping financial centres define the future of the industry and understand the global ecosystem.

The survey for the next edition closes on 31 December 2021. Click the link below to share your insight.

Global financial currents

By comparing financial centres on a huge scale, the GFCI is able to give a comprehensive picture of the trends moving the industry globally.

In recent years, the report has highlighted a rise of financial centres in the Middle East.

Dubai is a leading force in the region. In the most recent GFCI report, Dubai was flagged in the top 20 centres most likely to become more significant.

Dubai is also internationally recognised for its outstanding quality of life, ranking as the best city in which to live and work in the MENA region for eight consecutive years, according to Kearney’s Global Cities report, and considered the world’s 18th best region for expats by the World Happiness Rankings. This has recently been enhanced by the UAE’s new working week, which gives residents two and a half days off per week.

Dubai also saw a swift and effective governmental response to the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting the emirate’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its citizens.

For businesses and financial centres across the world, the GFCI helps to identify new pathways to develop.

One of the most important factors influencing global competitiveness is business environment. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has been working ceaselessly since its inception in 2004 to enhance stability and growth opportunities and develop an ecosystem that fosters a dynamic and robust financial sector, focused on innovation and the Future of Finance.

Fostering innovation

The future of finance is becoming a reality around the world, and fintech, including cryptocurrencies, neobanking and virtual banking, is transforming the financial services industry. GFCI now identifies the top centres for fintech worldwide.

DIFC continues to rise up the rankings for fintech. Offering one of the region’s most comprehensive environments for venture capital and innovation, it is home to more than 500 sector-agnostic start-ups, of which more than 70% are fintech companies based in the DIFC Innovation Hub.

Other centres seeking to increase their fintech ranking can look to innovation models such as the DIFC FinTech Hive accelerator and DHS 1 billion Future District venture capital fund. DIFC also offers outstanding licensing options. Its Innovation Licence provides licensing subsidies and access to co-working space, and the Innovation Testing Licence serves as a sandbox enabling innovators to test new ideas.

Regulatory models

Regulation is a key pillar of the Business Environment category of the GFCI. By spotlighting leading regulatory systems, GFCI allows other centres to see successful models in action.

Dubai ranks in the top 15 centres for government and regulation. DIFC is home to the most sophisticated and business-friendly English Common Law jurisdiction in the region and an internationally recognised, independent regulator.

As the GFCI highlights the importance of a supportive regulatory environment, DIFC has continued to develop its framework, with new passporting, insolvency and employment laws introduced in recent years with the goal to support business.


The GFCI recognises that one of the essential pillars of global competitiveness for a financial centre is its people. The index recognises education and development, and quality of life, under its Human Capital area, and city brand and appeal, and attractiveness and cultural diversity under Reputation.

DIFC has been making huge investments in education through the DIFC Academy, which offers world-class financial and legal education through strategic partnerships with leading educational institutions and government entities, including London Business School. The academy has also partnered with funding partner EdAid on its Future Campus Initiative, which combined online learning with co-working space.

GFCI provides invaluable insight that is shaping the future of finance. Don’t forget to rate MEASA’s leading international financial centre, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), home to over 3200 active companies and over 1000 financial and innovation related companies.