Population > 12.6 million
Leading indicator > The London Stock Exchange had the most initial public offerings in the world in 2006
Fast companies > New-media startups OTP Media; MX Telecom; Jobpartners
Attracted by light-touch regulation, 91 foreign companies sold new shares on London's exchanges last year--four times the overseas listings in New York. And in the first quarter of this year, IPOs raised 50% more in London than on Nasdaq and the NYSE. Meanwhile, financiers in Mayfair own 26% share of the $1.23 trillion global hedge-fund industry. The downside: absurdly expensive real estate.