There is no doubt that there is an emerging contest open now for becoming the next and new World Financial Center. The opportunity broke with the breakdown of financial responsibility on Wall Street and European financial centers plus the caving of fiscal discipline [consistently running increasing budget deficits over the past 5-10 years]by many developed country’s governments. Couple this with the rise of petro-riches and the emergence of Southeast Asia, China and India as manufacturing and service providing powerhouses respectively – and suddenly managing the World’s money and finance does not seem to be the god-given domain of current Western financial centers.
Of course, the collective Wall Street waiver on Fiduciary Trust and discrete riders on any Code of Ethics along with Wall Street’s adamant rejection of almost all financial reforms certainly helps other financial centers. And sophistication plus capital sources are not lacking in the Emirates, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore among the leading contenders now that London, Geneva, and Wall Street have systematically ruined their respective brands.
And to add to the contest, Singapore is upping the ante with its move to fiber optically wire the small island nation for broadband services at hitherto astounding, data-center only speeds. I am talking 1Gbits/second. Just to compare, Sprint’s new 4G Wimax network is raving about its ability to deliver 4-10Mbits/second … just barely 1/100th the speed that Singapore users will receive. And Singapore is demanding a 2012 start-up date for its new network.
Now consider that Singapore has lead and Southeast Asia has dominated the Educational scores for math and science in grade and high school for the past 15 years and one can see a strong educational base for the network to further support. And China is not far behind in similar plans. In sum Southeast Asia is building up a brains plus technical brawn as well as entrepreneur advantage that will make their financial centers increasingly attractive to international businesses looking for less risky and less self-aggrandizing financial services.