The Lord Mayor of the City of London will always visit China during their year of office. China is a major trading partner and inward investor in the UK. This year due to Covid restrictions this is not possible but the Lord Mayor made a virtual visit between March 21st – 24th. I accompanied him as Sheriff as might have been the case if the visit were in person. This all took place in the Mansion House via brilliant technology and simultaneous translation. The purpose of the visit was to showcase the depth and breadth of the City’s offer as a leading international green/sustainable financial centre, to promote the UK as a leading investment management hub through the Global Investment Futures campaign and provide an update on how the UK is faring post Covid and post Brexit. The engagement ranged from seminars to fireside chats and engagement with a range of businesses and political leaders.
A summit on the Global Investment Futures campaign https://www.theglobalcity.uk/global-investment-futures allowed me to remind the audience of the fundamental strengths of the City: a global outlook, a world-class business environment and a skilled and entrepreneurial workforce. In this regard the UK and China have complementary strengths. Most important areas of note are the reach of UK Regulation and the way that UK regulators address new approaches resulting from disruptors in a way that does not stifle innovation but protects consumers – it is agile and coherent. As a lawyer, I was also keen to mention the strength of the UK for arbitration and its strong legal environment. The UK also thrives with a multicultural talent resource which aids business set up and development. Our working environment is culturally and educationally strong. Another key element is the prominence of ESG in the minds of companies. It requires new ways of working and thinking and innovation. The UK and China have a very strong record of working together in innovation in sustainable and green finance. The UK leads in Asset Management globally in incorporating ESG considerations in metrics and disclosures. I did not fail to mention the Green Finance Institute and its ground-breaking work, where I sit as a non-executive director.
We met the Vice Mayor of Beijing YIN Yong at an important dialogue on sustainable investing in the UK. There was great representation from the Beijing Asset Management Association and the Beijing Financial Service as well as the main Chinese Banks.
Our last stop was with the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and a three way conversation with the Chairman of Britcham HK Peter Burnett, the Lord Mayor and myself. We touched on sustainable finance, COP26, FinTech and Central Bank Digital Currencies. The Britcham HK is a very vibrant association and provided a chance to talk more extensively about the work of the City and liaison with Hong Kong. https://www.britcham.com/