Down a small South Mumbai lane around the corner from one of India’s premier schools Cathedral & John Connon School, Lord Mayor of the City of London John Stuttard inaugurated his India office, which will be a hub of UK promotional and Indo-British collaborative activities around investment, trade and education.
“It’s a new paradigm,” Stuttard said. “India’s investment in the United Kingdom has never been higher and UK investment in India has never been higher.”
The Lord Mayor is an elected post as the head of the City of London corporation, which provides local government services for the city’s central business district. He is also the ambassador for financial centres such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Bristol.
Stuttard said Mumbai needs to be open to foreign competition, increase its talent pool and improve its regulatory environment to become an international financial centre.
Stronger ties: Lord Mayor of the City of London John Stuttard
A report commissioned by finance minister P. Chidambaram on the same subject points to the City of London as a case study. Stuttart echoed some of its recommendations and said that having one regulator for all financial sectors (banking and the stock market for instance) could be an advantage, noting that competing cities such as Dubai also have one.
He added that many countries have more than one regulator, though.
The City of London’s Mumbai office will be headed by Anita Nandi and will be guided by an advisory board comprising: Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd; K.V. Kamath, chief executive officer, ICICI Bank Ltd; Naina Lal Kidwai, chief executive officer of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation; Zia Mody, partner at law firm AZB & Partners; Nasser Munjee, chairman of the Development Credit Bank Ltd and Deepak Parekh, chairman of the Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. Its council will be chaired by Alan Rosling, executive director at Tata Sons Ltd, who also attended the office inauguration. The City of London already has offices in Brussels and China.
Stuttard was accompanied by 40 business executives on his visit to India. He said he was particularly interested in a Bill in India’s Parliament that could allow more collaboration between Indian universities and foreign schools.