Mumbai: Maharashtra’s plans to promote Mumbai as a global financial centre have received a shot in the arm as Wall Street firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Japanese government arm Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro) agreed to partner with the state government to hold road shows to attract financial services companies to Mumbai.

JPMorgan also agreed to expand its operations in India and add 15,000 more employees, a large chunk of which will be in Mumbai, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters in Mumbai after his participation in the World Economic Forum (WEF) meetings in Davos, Switzerland.

Fadnavis said he also met senior executives from the Japanese services firm Nomura, Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG and Swiss financial services firm Credit Suisse AG who also were keen to expand their operations in Mumbai, he added.

The Japanese financial services company Mistui Financial group also showed its willingness to finance infrastructure projects such as the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, the Navi Mumbai Airport, and Mumbai Metro, among others, Fadnavis told.

“When I left for Davos, I had 22 meetings lined up but interest in India and Maharashtra of foreign companies is so high that I ended up in attending 30 meetings and I had to disappoint many prospective investors and request them to meet us in Mumbai instead," he said.

Fadnavis attributed the increased investor interest in Maharashtra and India to the assumption of office by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state and at the Centre last year.

Former Bank of India chairman and managing director M. Balachandran, who was part of the 14-member expert committee appointed by the ministry of finance in 2007 to analyse the prospects of making Mumbai an international finance centre, said it is important to know what role JPMorgan and Jetro will play in making Mumbai a global hub.

“In our report we had said that several steps had to be taken both on the banking side as well as the infrastructure side; some of the steps have been taken but there have also been other cities like Ahmedabad being pushed as a financial hub which have to be looked at," Balachandran, who is currently the chairman of National Payments Corp of India (NPCI), said.

In its report submitted in February 2007, the committee had listed India’s large economy, English- speaking population, Mumbai’s location, democracy and a strong securities market as advantages even as it pointed out on the missing debt, currency and derivative markets, inadequate universe of institutional investors and cautious regulations as hindrances.

Robin Roy, associate director, financial services at aucoounting and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, said regulations ensuring that infrastructure is up to the mark are also important.

“When you want experts to live here you need good schools, good roads etc. Then there is a need to create an ecosystem in terms of tax, legal and regulatory issues and not to forget the capital markets. Mumbai has an advantage in terms of the time zone because the market here is open when the US sleeps. A lot of global banks have service centres here with a large treasury and trade management business."

Fadnavis on Wednesday also met Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman, Microsoft Corp. (India) Pvt. Ltd, and both had a detailed discussion about the company’s plans to start three data centres in India out of which two will be located in Maharashtra.

While one will be located in Mumbai, another will be located in Pune. The third centre will come up in Chennai. The total investment in the project is expected to be around Rs.2,300 crore.

Fadnavis told reporters, “The data centre project has a potential to create 20,000 jobs in country and will be used for company’s cloud computing operations in entire South Asia."

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