The list of world’s biggest financial centres features some stalwarts — like New York, London, and Tokyo — that have stayed at the top of any rankings for decades.

But there are also dozens of challengers in the developing world that are giving the giants a run for their money and are giving international investors access to some of the world’s fast-growing financial markets.

Some of the fastest-growing cities are in East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

We took the Global Financial Cities Index released for 2015 and compared it to the same publication when it was released five years ago, to find out which of the hubs are moving up the ranks most quickly.

10. Almaty — Kazakhstan’s biggest city has risen nine places since joining the index in 2009, and it’s ahead of Moscow or Warsaw.

9. Bangkok — Thailand’s capital has climbed 11 places since 2010, though it has taken a hit during Thailand’s recent political instability.

8. Kuala Lumpur — up 13 places since 2010, the Malaysian capital is taking a bigger position as an Asian financial centre.

7. Doha — Qatar’s capital has risen 16 places in the ranks over the last five years, and it’s now the Middle East’s second-most-important hub for the sector.

6. Panama — Panama’s unique position for Atlantic-Pacific shipping has helped its finance boom, with rapid growth raising it 13 places in the index since 2013.

5. Casablanca— this Moroccan city has risen 20 places in the ranks since it entered the index in 2014, and it improved by more than any hub in the Middle East and North Africa this year.

4. Seoul – South Korea’s premier city has surged up the competitive ranks of East Asia’s growing financial sector, rising 21 places since 2010. For banking, the city is ranked fifth in the world.

3. Johannesburg—the South African city has climbed from 54th place to 32nd in the index since 2010, the highest-placed in sub-Saharan Africa.

2. Istanbul — despite Turkey’s choppy political and economic conditions, it takes the top spot in the eastern Europe and central Asia category, rising 30 places since 2010.

1. Riyadh — Saudi Arabia’s capital is by far the most improved financial centre on the list, rising by an astonishing 55 spaces since 2010, as the city prepares to open its financial markets to foreigners.

This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Mike Bird is the European markets editor for Business Insider.

Image: A foreign worker sweeps a car park in front of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. REUTERS/Olivia Harris