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Where’s the best place to head office the bank?

"Where’s the best place to head office the bank?" is a question asked regularly by folks like HSBC, and the answer may be quite surprising.

Obviously, key contenders would be London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York,
Chicago, Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore … in fact, any of these
could be appropriate.  Most banks decide based upon where their roots
were and what sort of specialisation they have, such as whether they
are a local retail player or a derivatives focused investment bank.  In
other words, you locate based upon history, product, service, access to
resources and skills and so forth.

But if you were moving Head Office as a global bank, without any loyalty to any location today, where would you locate?

Well, now there is an answer. 

The Heritage Foundation’s Distribution of Economic Freedom.

The 2008 list has just come out and it’s got some surprising details and views.

Before giving you the results however, it’s worth understanding how
they calculate this list.  The Heritage Foundation assessed 162
countries  and reviewed ten areas, such as their freedom of trade,
freedom of business, freedom of investment, freedom from corruption,
size of Government and respect for property rights.  Countries are then
graded with a score between 0 and 100 to produce a simple, unbiased
overall score for each country.

So, who do you think would be the winner?

USA?  Nope, they’re fifth.

The UK?  Nope, tenth.

Japan?  Seventeeth.

Iraq?  Urrmmm … they didn’t grade that one.

for freedom and the best place to locate your bank would be … Hong
Kong.  Now, isn’t that lucky for HSBC if they wanted to move?

Here’s the Top 10:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. Ireland
  4. Australia
  5. United States
  6. New Zealand
  7. Canada
  8. Chile
  9. Switzerland
  10. United Kingdom

Visit  the Countries or have a look at the World Economic Freedom Map.

What’s interesting is that when you look at the analysis of the Top 10
based upon the ten criteria used: America is the worst for corruption,
Chile the worst for monetary freedom, Australia the worst for fiscal
freedom, and the UK is the worst for freedom of labour and our size of

Don’t we just know it?

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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