September 22, 2019 1:12:52 am
The City of London Corporation, the financial district of London, has proposed to collaborate with Indian companies to support the growth of the growing fintech and insurance sectors in India through innovation, technology and investments.
Peter Estlin, the 691st Lord Mayor of the City of London, who was in India last week to explore possible areas of co-operation, said, “We have the people, the talent and the capital to help create opportunities for Indian fintechs to grow and test their fintech products.” According to Estlin, financial technology, or fintech, is already a thriving sector in India.
“You already host over 3,000 in fintechs. Companies like PayTM have more than two million users. And according to Ernst & Young, India is a world leader in fintech adoption because of the support from both the government and regulators. But the UK can also support this thriving sector,” he told The Indian Express in an interview.
“Our fintech sector employs more than 75,000 people nationwide and it continues to attract record investment. We have the people, the talent and the capital to help create opportunities for Indian fintechs to grow and test their fintech products,” he added.
A team of City of London Corporation, which houses some of the leading global financial giants, held discussions with India insurance and banking sector players and regulators last week. While the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has invited applications for its Sandbox experiment to test and develop innovative products, the Reserve Bank of India is set to come out with its own Sandbox system shortly.
“We also have some of the friendliest regulation for fintechs globally. And since 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority has operated ‘Project Innovate’, with a regulation sandbox which has helped hundreds of firms from across the world get access to the market,” Estlin said. “In fact, 90 per cent of the firms from their first round of applications have gone on to market, many of them finding it easier to get funding as a result of participating in the Sandbox, a safe and secure place to test their products,” he said.
Over the years, the City of London has become the capital of capital, he said. “It is home to institutions like the Bank of England, Lloyds of London and the London Stock Exchange. And for over a century, India has been an important partner and friend. 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,” Estlin said, adding, “Today, the London Stock Exchange is the leading centre for the issuance of Masala bonds.”
The City of London Corporation — also known as the Square Mile and the world’s most international financial centre — has also proposed to collaborate in the insurance sector, especially in agriculture, healthcare and cyber security. “India is a huge market… there is huge potential here,” Estlin said.
The City of London Corporation has developed the largest cyber market in Europe, valued at four billion pounds and employing over 100,000 people across 8,000 companies.
“At present, one-third of all cyber insurance passes through London. And we are working closely with industry to ensure they can take advantage of this expertise. We work with a number of cyber accelerators to directly match ‘need’ with ‘resource’,” Estlin said.
“The City of London has the infrastructure, the talent and the market lead on cyber security and I would encourage you to see how we can help you become more secure,” he added.
Cybercrime is estimated to cost around $ 445 billion each year and financial institutions, which are becoming increasingly digitised, are particularly vulnerable. “That’s why, in the City of London, we are working with the police the government and the private sector to increase cyber security. City of London Police, UK’s national policing lead for fraud and cyber crime reporting, recently launched a new training programme called Cyber Griffin to ensure that a company’s IT system is secure and the people who operate it are sufficiently skilled to spot signs of cyber-attacks,” Estlin added.
The UK government is investing nearly two billion pounds as part of its National Cyber Security Strategy, to make the United Kingdom the safest place in the world to live and do business.
“We are partnering with them on the National Cyber Security Centre which creates a partnership between government and industry to increase the UK’s cyber security,” Estlin said.
UK’s exports to India increased at the fastest rate among its top trading partners outside the European Union, with an almost 20 per cent hike in goods and services trade in 2018. “And I believe that the most innovative and dynamic part of this trading relationship is in our financial and professional services,” Estlin said.
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