A comparison Vienna and Munich

Overall aim, general background

The Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) uses a set of ratings and rankings based on a wide range of external measures aiming to reflect a financial centre’s competitiveness. According to the most recent findings the top ranking centres – London and New York – have shown a much greater degree of stability in their competitiveness and are responding more robustly to the economic recovery than less diversified, second-tier financial centres. Munich and Vienna, which experienced a drop in their rankings from the 29th to the 33rd and 35th to 43rd place, respectively, provide good examples reflecting this trend. Notwithstanding the comprehensiveness and methodological sophistication of the GFCI, the relative shortness of the time period covered since the GFCI was initially launched represents a considerable drawback when it comes to explaining the uneven development patterns of financial centres.

The research project aims to signify the extent to which the restructuring of the banking and insurance industry over the last decade and the emergence of private equity firms as new financial players calls for the rethinking of the European geography of finance. Paying particular attention to Munich and Vienna as two second-tier financial places, we shed light on recent changes in the landscape and scales of European financial centres and address the restructuring of the financial service industry against the background of long-term and recent macroeconomic developments. 


The study examines the increasingly diversified fabric of the financial service industry due to the emergence of new financial players, most notably private equity firms. Drawing on the investments portfolios of the 30 best performing private equity firms according to the May 2008 edition of the so-called PEI 50 (i.e. the second annual ranking of the largest private equity firms in the world released by the industry magazine Private Equity International), the study presents new empirical data which is explored by means of network analysis. Tracing the diversification process back to the historical roots of financial services in both places, the study also illustrates the significance of path dependency and path breaking for financial centres and thus substantiates the explanatory ability of an evolutionary approach to the study of financial markets. 


Zademach, H.-M., Musil, R. (2014): Global Integration along Historic Pathways: Vienna and Munich in the Changing Financial Geography of Europe. In: European Urban and Regional Studies 21/4, S. 463-483. DOI: 0.1177/0969776412457172

ISR-Project team


  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Zademach, Kath. Universität Eichstätt


January 2009 - August 2010


Stadt Wien, MA 7