Best city to work & live in (outside of USA)

Legendary WSOers - what do you think are the best cities for ppl in finance? (There’s already a discussion about cities in America so I’m not including them here.)

In terms of safety and quality of life, London still seems decent (albeit perhaps not excellent). Will London stay unchallenged as the No.2 global financial centre? Or will it be replaced by other cities like Frankfurt or Paris?

In terms of income…I’m based in Hong Kong so I find the tax rate in the UK and EU a bit scary. Plus salaries there seem lower than HK and NYC too. (But given what’s happening in China, I’m very pessimistic about HK. People been moving away from HK to Singapore a lot, though I’m not sure why Singapore.)

Any insights or opinions?

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I’m not a big fan haha. For one it’s too crowded and noisy. Cost of living is also high. Rent per sqm is the same as NYC, but places are normally much smaller. I’m living in a 25 sqm studio and paying 15k HKD / month for it.

Living here as a student without income was tough for me (I did my undergrad here). Once you start working it’s better because the salaries here are decent. And PIT is as low as 15% (a main reason why some Europeans come here; but this might be useless for you if you're American).

Career-wise, HK has always been big in banking, and is probably the best place for banking with China. But I think it doesn’t have many buy-side opportunities, especially PE. (Besides, after 2019 many banks have been transferring their business to Singapore to avoid political risks.)

BTW speaking from my own experiences, I don’t think universities in Hong Kong are outstanding in any way 😅. Plus, HRs in HK prefer US universities over local ones, and they’ll happily sponsor work visas for international applicants.

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