UK exchequer chancellor Hammond urges strong ties with India in fintech

Philip Hammond says UK and India can become strong partners in the financial technology industry as it is keen to make its market truly global after its exit from EU


British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond hinted that strengthening ties with UK may fulfil India’s appetite for investments, particularly in infrastructure. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond hinted that strengthening ties with UK may fulfil India’s appetite for investments, particularly in infrastructure. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

Mumbai: British chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond on Wednesday said the United Kingdom and India can become strong partner nations in the financial technology (fintech) industry as UK is keen to make its market truly global after its exit from European Union, while on the other hand, investments into India’s fintech sector have been rising over the past year.

Hammond is on a three-day tour called FinTech Trade Mission to India to engage in dialogue with the Indian finance ministry, financial regulators and other industry bodies in order to strengthen UK’s e-conomic and trading relations with the country.

“The vote for the UK to leave the EU was clear. It reflected a desire for Britain to make its own decisions and to determine its own destiny. But it wasn’t a vote for isolation…British companies have invested more in India since 2000 than the United States or any other European nation has done. And investment from UK companies accounts for 1 in 20 Indian jobs in the organised private sector. Indian companies, meanwhile, invest more in Britain than in the rest of the EU put together,” Hammond said while speaking at a conference in Mumbai.

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Hammond said Indian companies such as the Tata Group are among the biggest employers in the UK, transforming British businesses with their focused management and long-term investments.

“In the last year we’ve seen the creation of a whole new market, with the world’s first masala bonds issued in London – raising over $1.5 billion. To date, almost 80% of all masala bonds have been issued in London. And we will see even more, very soon from the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and the National Highways Authority of India…the UK and India can collaborate to our mutual advantage – in FinTech,” said Hammond.

There are at least 15 India-headquartered banks which are engaged in international banking businesses in the UK. On the other hand, there are several British financial services firms that are present in India’s insurance, asset management, fintech and banking industries.

Hammond hinted that strengthening ties with UK may fulfil India’s appetite for investments, particularly in infrastructure.

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“India has 220 million active smartphone users–over three times the entire UK population. What’s more, India’s demonetisation programme means its financial services sector is undergoing a significant transformation…New fintech payment firms, small finance lenders, and insurance players are entering the market. These firms will be crucial in helping the RBI achieve its target of 90% of the population having access to banking services by 2034,” said Hammond.

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