In June, shortly before he became the British prime minister, Gordon Brown announced, “[This is] an era that history will record as the beginning of a new golden age for the City of London.” Meanwhile, New York was digesting the findings of a McKinsey & Company report, commissioned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on how the Big Apple might respond to London’s resurgence as a financial center.

More and more, investment bankers, hedge fund specialists and private equity dealmakers are being drawn to the city of sky-high rents, creaking infrastructure and lukewarm, $7-a-pint beer. M&A across Europe has soared — in 2006 more deals were done on the Continent than in North America, according to data from mergermarket — and more typically than not, the finance for these deals is raised in London. Fleeing Sarbanes-Oxley, more international companies are increasingly looking to list on Europe’s equities markets. Last year, more money was raised by companies on London’s junior AIM market than on America’s Nasdaq.

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