Lord Mayor of London travels to Asia to build City links

The Lord Mayor of the City of London Peter Estlin will begin a 12 day visit to Asia today (11 February) to strengthen links between the UK and cities across the region.

Over the next two weeks the Lord Mayor will travel to Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore for discussions with government, regulator and industry leaders on building closer cooperation in areas like fintech, green finance, cyber security and digital skills. He will also provide reassurance about London’s long-term strengths to Asian partners in advance of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Estlin serves as an international ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services sector and visits around 30 key international markets during his year in office to boost trade ties.

The visit forms part of the Lord Mayor’s Shaping Tomorrow’s City Today campaign, which aims to promote innovation and technology, champion digital skills and address digital and social inclusion across the UK and around the world.

In Seoul discussions are expected to focus on the impending launch of a regulatory sandbox (a mechanism allowing innovative businesses scope to test fintech products and services in the real market) by South Korea’s Financial Services Commission. The initiative is based on the successful UK Financial Conduct Authority model, but will be open to use by foreign firms.

Moving to Tokyo, the Lord Mayor will meet with the city’s Governor Yuriko Koike, following her visit to The Mansion House in October. He will also discuss the establishment of a new organisation to promote Tokyo as a global financial centre. Conversations will take place on developing the memorandum of understanding between the City of London Corporation and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which was signed in 2017 and has boosted links in areas including education, asset management, and green finance.

In Hong Kong, the Lord Mayor will use his role as Chair of the UK Government’s Department for International Trade Fintech Steering Board to promote fintech links between the UK and Hong Kong, with his visit coming in the wake of the launch of a new UK government pilot programme supporting UK companies looking to expand into the Hong Kong fintech market. He will also hold meetings around how both cities can work together in Belt and Road Financing through our membership of the Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office, a body run by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority which facilitates infrastructure investment.

In his final stop Singapore, Estlin will meet with government and regulatory leaders including the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Second Minister for Finance. He will hold a talk with students in the city about digital skills and the future of fintech.

Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin said:

Significant long-term opportunities for the UK are to be found in Asia. The world is pivoting East, and we cannot afford to be left behind.

“By 2025 Asia is forecast to account for nearly half the world’s GDP. This seismic shift in the global economy presents huge opportunities for the UK to strengthen mutually beneficial ties across Asia as demand for the services and expertise provided by City firms continues to grow.”

“Through my mayoral theme ‘Shaping Tomorrow’s City Today’, I’m working hard to build bridges with cities across the globe that enable us to fully leverage the opportunities of the digital era by delivering tangible exchanges of innovation, skills and knowledge. This visit aims to do just that.”

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said:

“High growth markets in Asia represent a major opportunity for British firms, particularly in areas like fintech where the UK has significant comparative advantage.

“Putting Britain at the heart of the world’s fastest growing regions is at the core of my international economic department’s mandate and that’s why we will potentially seek accession to CPTPP which represents over 13% of global GDP and £97bn of current UK trade.

“The Lord Mayor’s efforts in promoting UK industry abroad are invaluable and we will continue to work with the City of London to showcase our world-leading expertise.”

Peter Estlin is a Senior Adviser to Barclays plc having joined in 2008. Most of his career has been spent in banking, initially as CFO for Salomon Brothers Asia, then CFO for Citigroup’s Investment and Corporate Banking divisions in New York and London. He joined Barclays in 2008 as Group Financial Controller and has been CFO of the Retail & Business Banking and Non-Core divisions as well as Acting Group CFO.

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.

For more information contact:

Nathan Rodgers, Media Officer for Asia

City of London Corporation

0207 332 3451 / 07864 625086