Chris Hayward is the Policy Chairman of the City of London Corporation and in the role, he leads the financial hub of the UK capital’s work on policy issues affecting the City’s financial and related professional services sector.
Ahead of week-long visit to India this week, he reflects upon the key sectors of focus, progress on the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between the two countries and green and sustainable finance collaborations.
What are the key plans for your India visit?
I'm starting in Mumbai, meeting senior financial services leaders. Then I'm going on for the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI). From there, I get to GIFT City in Ahmedabad, which is Prime Minister Modi’s special fintech project and I will effectively be the first senior City of London visitor there. Then I will be going on to Delhi, where I meet a mixture of government leaders and business leaders.
What would be the highlight sectoral themes during your interactions?
We're following up on the formation of a City-India infrastructure Commission, which will leverage both City of London capital and expertise in structuring projects. I think we have a lot to offer in that area in financial terms and in project management terms for these major infrastructure projects that I know Prime Minister Modi is very keen on developing in India.
The second theme will be around investment. India is a powerhouse of investment in technology and fintech and green transition. These are all big topics for us here in the City of London. Fintech here is probably the second biggest after the US in terms of capability and opportunities and India is fast growing in that area.
And then there is the Indian legal sector, which is opening up to foreign firms. So, I will be offering to host back here a meeting for Indian authorities with our major legal firms to work out how in practice that can actually happen.
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How do you see the UK-India FTA shaping up from a City of London point of view?
I think it's important from our point of view that any FTA includes clear binding provisions protecting UK investments in India, and indeed the other way around as well. We are obviously keen to keep the momentum going on the FTA.
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What discussions are planned around sustainable finance collaborations?
We at the City of London can really offer strong thought leadership around the subject of green finance. Green finance products are incredibly important. We want to learn from each other on how we can develop more green finance products. We cannot solve NetZero without working with the very large countries, and India is a very large country.