Department for International Trade and City of London Corporation hosted India Day – a day long programme of speeches, panels and discussions at Mansion House, after first-ever India Day was marked in the Houses of Parliament on Monday 24 June. The Lord Mayor during his speech specially highlighted two new deals signed between UK and India: an agreed partnership between R5FX with Edelweiss GIA to improve their offer through their Fintech expertise. And Indian challenger bank TMW Pay to expand internationally and be operational in London having invested £20 million and creating 100 jobs.
The themes for the day included Innovation in financial services, opportunities in India's growing economy, investing in stressed assets, the future of insurance, green infrastructure and investing in innovation.
Keeping the current trend in mind, Asian Voice’s annual Finance, Banking and Investment magazine this year was themed on the UK-India bilateral relationship, with a focus on FinTech, sustainable developments and innovation. The magazine was launched in the Houses of Parliament on 4 July.
The India day at the City explored new opportunities for collaboration in financial and professional services, and a precursor to the Lord Mayor's planned India visit in September. Besides the Lord Mayor and London's Deputy Mayor for Business Rajesh Agrawal, the panellists and speakers included Piyush Goyal Current minister of Ministry of Railways and Commerce in the Government of India, Britain's Cabinet Ministers and senior leaders from leading UK and Indian financial services organisations.
Importance of India after Brexit
Speaking at the event, Lord Mayor Alderman Peter Estlin highlighted India’s importance to UK as a Commonwealth nation, more so after Brexit. He said, “For over a century, India has been an important partner. In fact, some of our most long-standing businesses in the City are Indian – with the State Bank of India having offices here since the turn of the century. Today, the London Stock Exchange is the leading centre for the issuance of ‘Masala bonds’. And the City of London Corporation has had offices in Mumbai for over a decade.
“This long-dated friendship has led to an incredible business partnership, one that continues to improve. UK's exports to India increased at the fastest rate among our top trading partners outside the European Union, with an almost 20 per cent hike in goods and services trade in 2018. In fact, the UK imported more from India than any other Commonwealth country. And I believe that the most innovative and dynamic part of this trading relationship is in our financial and professional services…”
Speaking about India’s recent budget and his successful visit last year, he added, “As the most recent budget announced by the new Indian Finance Minister shows, there’s a lot of opportunity for collaboration. Whether it is developments in the insurance sector, raising capital from external markets or infrastructure expertise – the City is well placed to help…
“And we can work together on more innovative and emerging industries, like Fintech, green finance and infrastructure investment. I was India with the Late Lord Mayor last October, where we visited Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. We brought with us a business delegation of 11 Fintech companies, and we had great success following the trip…
“Since then, we have made great progress…and thanks to that trip I can announce today two new deals. UK firm R5FX have agreed a partnership with Edelweiss GIA to improve their offer through their Fintech expertise. And Indian challenger bank TMW Pay are expanding internationally they are now here and operational in London having invested £20 million and creating 100 jobs.
“This is great work and testament to the strong bonds of friendship and business between the UK and India… bonds I hope to build on as I am finalising plans for my next visit to India in September with a focus on new areas for collaboration…”
Emphasising on the growing importance of the Fintech industry he said, “Areas like Fintech, which can help drive financial inclusion, contribute to economic growth and provide a chance for us to learn from each other’s success…
“Since 2014, Indian Fintech start-ups have seen almost £4.5 billion pounds invested across 660 deals… And here in the UK we have the people, the talent and the capital to help create opportunities for Indian Fintech to grow and test their Fintech products...”
Relaxation of immigration rules
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Theresa May said, “The innovators and entrepreneurs, the thinkers and the do-ers, who are working hand-in-hand with colleagues and counterparts on the other side of the world to grow our economies and, in doing so, help all our people grow too.
“Our nations are many thousands of miles apart, our cultures in many ways very different...But for all that diversity, the UK and India have much in common. Our countries are twin pillars of the Commonwealth. Each is built on shared values of democracy and the rule of law. We are equally committed to open markets, to free trade and the international order.
“Both governments are dedicated to tackling the global challenges – from security to climate change - that no one nation can defeat alone…
“In 2019 the story of the UK and India is not a story of our complex and intertwined history, but of the flows of capital, technology and business.
"Of the 'living bridge' of people and ideas that make us, in the words of Prime Minister Modi, an “unbeatable combination” – both today and for the future…"
Adding about relaxing of the immigration rules for Indians after Brexit, she said, "Over the past three years, Indian companies have raised £2 billion through green bonds listed on the LSE. We are in the midst of an immensely productive period of economic relations between India and the UK...
"When the Indian government raises its first ever international sovereign bond later this year I hope they do so in the City of London – whose capital markets, with their unrivalled depth and liquidity, are the best in the world.
"Yesterday saw the latest edition of the highly successful JETCO trade dialogue, at which representatives from both our nations discussed our approach to the removal of trade barriers in the years ahead.
"And once we leave the EU, our new immigration rules will see an individual’s right to work in the UK determined not by where they were born, but by what they can bring to our nation – a boost for Indian employers who want to do business in the UK…”In 2018, the combined turnover of Indian companies in the UK reached almost £50 billion, more than trebling in just five years. Indian FDI in the UK is growing faster than that from any other country, soaring by an incredible 321 per cent in just 12 months. Bilateral trade rose by 14 per cent last year. The British Development Finance bank, CDC Group, invests more in India than anywhere else in the world – more than 300 investments totalling over £1.3 billion and directly supporting around 350,000 jobs.
Venture capital firms like Pontaq and Blume are seeking out innovative start-ups in both nations. Joint ventures such as HDFC Life and ICICI Prudential are India’s leading private sector insurers. London-based companies like Greensill are expanding their financing platforms in India. And, in the past three years, Indian issuers have raised over £7.5 billion of bonds on the London Stock Exchange.