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FC Competition

About the FC competition

Welcome to the Institut Louis Bachelier FC Competition!

The goal of the competition is to develop novel and sound propositions on how to provide Financial Centre (FC) eco-system actors with an open, transparent and operational tool for assessment of FC attractiveness and importance. A tool that on a scientifically valid basis can point to movements and allow comparison between Financial Centres in general as well as in different segments of financial activities.

The methodology of this database and potential index should be based on academic research and internationally validated. We are looking to develop a strong, transparent and academically sound methodology that will give the most accurate view on the dynamics and strongholds of FCs.

There are three legs in the competition:

  1. Reflections on what characterizes a Financial Centre
  2. Which data should be put in a database to describe a FC’s attractiveness and importance
  3. Development of models to aggregate and compare data.

Overall questions to be answered:

  • What characterizes a Financial Centre?
  • What is the most accurate way of assessing the attractiveness and importance of a FC?
  • Which indicators should go in a database developed to support research on FCs?
  • What is the right methodology for comparing data?
  • How should a global Financial Centre index be designed to be valid?

Overall objectives:

  1. Make the most of a new, open-access database gathering information that academics and various FC actors (buy side, sell side, service providers, etc.) can use to search for objective information on a specific selection of FCs.
  2. Contribute, through academically based work and innovative propositions, to a better understanding of FC attractiveness and the development of internationally recognized FC attractiveness index that could later be published based on ideas and results suggested by the competing teams.

We have invited different masters in finance, geography and economy from highly esteemed schools in Europe to propose how this should be done going forward. The winning team will walk away with 6 000 Euro.

To evaluate the proposals the FC Competition will have the honor of an international jury of experts.

The results of the ILB FC Competition will be presented at a conference hosted by Institut Louis Bachelier and our project partners in June 2018.

By that time we hope to have a new operational tool, developed on an academically sound basis ready to share with Financial Centres around the world.

Enjoy the challenge!

Jean-Michel Beacco, CEO
Institut Louis Bachelier (ILB)

Why a competition?

A number of factors (technological and practical, geopolitical such as Brexit, emergence of new pools of talents and globalization) contribute to changes in the way actors organize themselves and are likely to eventually lead to a reorganization among Financial Centres and change the dynamics between FCs.

Following Financial Centres is valuable, but existing methods have shortcomings (non-reproducibility, lack of transparency, redundant or missing dimensions…). The competition is developed to support more scientific work on Financial Centre assessments and as an elaboration of formerly developed indexes.

Examples of points to be discussed in main running/former indexes (GFCI/IFCDI):

  • Significantly different outcomes in indexes
  • The statistical model used to calculate the ranking is not transparent (not possible to reproduce)
  • Significance to Financial Centres and lack of weighting of (soft) indicators such as “Good country index”, “Top Tourism Destinations” or “Big Mac Index” can be questioned
  • Tax is not used a key area of competitiveness
  • No totaling or averaging across factors (due to involved complexity)
  • Redundancy in data e.g. use of indexes that are built on multiple indicators already represented in other indices
  • Representativeness and quality of respondents in online survey not ensured (anyone can answer)
  • Transformations incl. new technology and its impact on Financial Centre eco-system players are not being correctly accounted for within the index (e.g. digitalization and fintech)

Examples of regarded positives in main running indexes:

  • History of data (ranking done over a series of years, twice-yearly)
  • Factors and indicators covering the FC eco-system
  • Major Brexit inducers and issues (e.g. Passporting) are included as substantial components of the index
  • The specialized FCs (i.e. either back office or front office focused) are taken into account within the drivers

Competition timeline


  • 31st of October 2017: Kick off  ILB FC Competition
  • November-January: Initial working phase for competing teams
  • February: Pitch of initial idea to jury. Feedback from jury
  • February-April: Second working phase. Development of final proposal
  • 1st of May 2018: Deadline for proposals
  • May: Evaluation of proposals by jury
  • June: International conference on FC attractiveness with stakeholders and experts. Presentation and discussion of work done in competition. Technological/structural changes that challenge and affect FCs. Announcement of competition winners. Presentation of their proposals.
  • June: Publication of competition and conference results.

Indicators and data

How is the attractiveness and the strength of a Financial Centre measured? Are only hard indicators on the financial transactions and volume relevant or do we need to include soft indicators describing the FC eco-system as well? If so which ones are relevant when identifying the characteristics of a specific FC?

As a starting point competing teams have access to a shortlist of indicators with underlying historic data in the 1.0 version of FinRank.

The FinRank database provided to the teams includes both hard and soft indicators, but is neither final nor mandatory in its form. It is up to the teams to propose missing along with irrelevant indicators in the database.

The FinRank is based on the following six criteria:

1: Open, 2: Available, 3: Transparent, 4: Qualitative sources, 5: Valid methodology, 6: Key relevance to FCs. 


International authoritative institutions such as World Bank, World Economic Forum etc.

Data released by world well-known companies, stock exchanges and authoritative websites.

Media re-current analysis/rankings such as Forbes, Economist etc. but redundance should be avoided.

Research data published by well-known research institutions.

It is likewise up to the teams to discuss if these are the right criteria.

Supporting papers

Besides the FinRank database the following papers are provided to competing teams:


A paper on methodologies and implications of cluster classification: methodologies-and-implications-of-clusters-classification

A study on Brexit consequences:


An analysis looking at German competitiveness:



Main existing/former indexes: 

GFCI 22 ranking: gfci22_report

IFCD ranking: ifcdi-2


All background materials provided are meant as inspiration and competing teams are invited to discuss findings, perspectives and outcomes presented.

Expectations, deliverables, obligations


  1. A special focus
  2. Indicator reflections and conclusions
  3. Model for comparing and aggregating data

Ad 1: 

  • Competing teams are expected to propose and explore a relevant research question of their own choice contributing to a better understanding of FCs and key characteristics regarding importance and attractiveness.

Ad 2: 

  • Competing teams are expected to develop their suggested list of indicators based on those available in the provided FC database and any indicator the team wish to add or delete.
  • Competing teams should discuss and motivate their choice of indicators, i.e. document their relevance to provide information on drivers/factors that are key to FC attractiveness and the balance of eco-system vs. strictly financial data.
  • When relevant, competing teams should discuss and motivate the use of data/questionnaire.
  • Competing teams are invited to develop a value charter for the New FC database (criteria for data selection and use) in order to develop a set of ground rules to ensure a superior data base and index quality and enable the development of better research on FCs.


  • Competing teams should present a scientifically sound methodology to assess FC importance and attractiveness with a special (but not exclusive) interest on aggregation and design of an index.
  • When relevant, competing teams should discuss/motivate the proper use of aggregation and weighting.
  • Competing teams are expected to recommend a technical/operational solution for the construction of a database and index.
  • Competing teams should offer a proposition on frequency in terms of update of information and index releases.

Deadlines and deliverables:

  • 9th of February 2018: A first presentation of the competing team’s proposal in a Word / TeX document of minimum 5 and maximum 15 pages (looking at the expectations above in macro-perspective). Preparation of a 20 minutes oral pitch (by video conference for non-Paris based teams) to jury.
  • 1st of May 2018: A Word / TeX of max 50 pages including final proposition, motivation of choices, complete list of indicators and sources, database and index methodology, tool for technical/operational solution, relevant computer code, value-charter.
    • Teams are requested to write a résumé of the proposed model at an academic level. This summary will be published in a dedicated ILB publication. The summary is to be delivered with the rest of the proposition at the competition deadline.
  • May 2018: Oral presentation of proposition supported by power point / TeX visualization. Duration: 30 min.
  • June 2018: The top three winning teams are requested to write an elaborate article to be published in a dedicated ILB publication on the debates and facts that has lead them to their solution. This article is due no later than two weeks after the winner has been announced.

Obligations and rights:

  • No rights can be reserved in the developed proposals. The proposed models should build on an open source and collaborative, free-to-use solution.
  • The winning team will be credited with a “Developed by …” clause in all materials.
  • All proposals will be published in ILB media and recited/published in other media.
  • The proposals can be delivered as a combination of text document and digital tool/mock up as preferred by the competing teams.
  • Competing teams accept the process and expectations as defined in this brief.
  • The winning proposal will be chosen by the international jury.


Competing teams

Students from different masters in Europe (Finance, Economy, Geography) are competing to exploit and enrich a new and up-to-date FC data base and propose innovative ways of assessing the activity and attractiveness of various FCs.

  • 1st prize: 6 000 €
  • 2nd prize: 3 000 €
  • 3rd prize: 2 000 €

Every school have been free to set their team as they prefer. More than 1 team from each school can join. The norm for a team is around 5 people.

Participation is free of charge.


FC Conference 2018

The FC Competition will be followed up by a conference announcing the winners of the competition, but even more importantly discussing the proposals in a forum of experts in the field.

The exact date and program for the conference held in June 2018 will be published in 2018.

If you are interested in a preliminary sign-up for the conference please register your name, profession and mail address with project manager Stine Hansen at

Further info

The FC Competition is developed by Institut Louis Bachelier.

It is made possible through partnership with:

  • Competing schools
  • Jury members
  • Maltem, data-collection

For questions and more info on the FC competition please contact FC Competition and Conference project manager, Stine Hansen at