The city of Tel Aviv has been ranked as one of the world's top 50 centers of commerce by the new MasterCard Worldwide Center of Commerce research index of leading cities that influence the global economy and drive global commerce. "A prerequisite for success in today's global marketplace is an in-depth understanding of how cities are connected and how they grow," said Robert W. Selander, president and CEO of Mastercard Worldwide. "The Worldwide Centers of Commerce program addresses this need by identifying and providing industry-leading insights into the characteristics and commonalities of cities that advance global commerce most." Tel Aviv was ranked at number 44 in the first MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index, which evaluates the world's top 50 cities in terms of their performance as centers of commerce in the global economy. The city had very similar overall scores to Rome and Mumbai. London was ranked as the world's leading center of commerce with a flexible operating environment for business, strong global financial connections and exceptionally high levels of international trade. Once considered the unchallenged financial capital of the world, New York took second place mainly due to more stringent market regulations, a less stable US economy and the more volatile US dollar. Tokyo followed in third place. Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul also made it into the top 10 centers. The index is determined according to an average score of six major parameters selected by a team of eight independent economic, urban development and social-science experts from leading academic and research institutions around the world. The six measurements are the degree to which legal and political frameworks enable the emergence of a global center of commerce; economic stability; the ease of doing business, which includes the availability of quality and cost-competitive trade logistics and the ability to attract talent due to a high quality of living; financial flow, the measurement of the city's actual output; the city as a business center for the flow of goods, services, people, finances and information, etc.; and knowledge creation and information flow. Tel Aviv benefited from strong scores in the political and legal, economic stability and ease of doing business categories but was lower in the city's financial achievements, the city as a business center category and the degree to which information flows freely and knowledge is generated. Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto were ranked as the easiest and most attractive places for doing business, having a strong national health care system, strong infrastructure, low traffic and easy access to public transportation.