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Finance

Mumbai and London tighten financial links

NEW DELHI -- India and the U.K . have launched a partnership to strengthen links between their financial service industries and improve business interaction between Mumbai and London, two of the world's key commercial hubs.

     The U.K.-India Financial Partnership (UIFP) was announced by Andrea Leadsom, economic secretary at the British treasury, in Mumbai on Oct. 10 and is headed by Uday Kotak, executive vice-chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Sir Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Standard Life and TheCityUK.

     Initial priorities will be developing the corporate bond market; sharing expertise on banking regulation and capitalization; enhancing financial training and qualifications; financial inclusivity; and improving cross-border provision of financial and insurance services.

     "Sharing our knowledge and expertise will open up new opportunities for our financial services industries and wider economies, and is a key part of our long-term economic plan," said Leadsom. This was her first visit to India and provided an opportunity to meet with key Indian policy makers as well as leaders of both Indian and British finance companies.

    The two countries held their seventh bilateral economic and financial dialogue in Delhi in July, during which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne both welcomed deeper financial service links between the two countries.

    Kotak and Grimstone plan to convene working groups to examine the main areas of common interest, and will make recommendations to the two finance ministers ahead of the next bilateral economic and financial dialogue in 2015.

    Grimstone said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government opens up opportunities for collaboration. "We aim to come up with practical suggestions to help policymakers press forward with India's ambitious reform program," he said.

    Kotak said the Indian financial sector is poised for sustained growth through the next decade, with new and stronger leadership and improving national macro-economic indicators. "In this context, the opportunity to increase collaboration with [the] U.K. financial sector creates significant prospects for both sides," he said.

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