Boris works his charm in India as Axis Bank, Indiabulls finance set shops in London

India News Bulletin Desk

Two Indian financial services firms -- Axis Bank and Indiabulls Financial Services -- are launching in London. The news comes as London Mayor Boris Johnson urged Indian businesses to capitalise on the huge opportunities London offers during his 5-day visit to India.

Boris urges Indian businesses to come to London
Image: Wikimedia Commons (Annie Mole)

The Mayor visited Bombay Stock Exchange and called for businesses to come to London. “London offers enormous opportunity for Indian companies to prosper and it's great to see two more top Indian names setting up shop in London,” Johnson said.

He told Indian businesses at BSE that the London Stock Exchange will give them access to innovative and cost-effective borrowing solutions to grow and compete.

About 73 Indian companies currently have themselves listed on LSE. The listed companies on LSE have raised almost $3bn in 2010 and 2011, according to the Mayor’s office.

Axis and Indiabulls will join a slew of other Indian companies already in London including ICICI Bank, Union Bank and Punjab National Bank. Together, the two firms will initially employ 30 London-based staff with a further three-year recruitment and expansion plan.

Indiabulls Financial Services’ London division will provide Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) mortgages for properties in India. Earlier this year, its sister company - Indiabulls Real Estate – set up office in London.

The company sees “significant commercial opportunities in opening up the India property market to a UK based audience,” its managing director, Ashwini Kumar Hooda said.

Indian govt should cut red tape: Boris

As part of his India visit, the Mayor called on the Indian government to cut the red tape that severely restricts both its private and state owned companies from listing on overseas stock exchanges like that of London.

One of the reasons Axis Bank is opening its first subsidiary outside of Asia in London is for its robust regulatory environment. “It will allow us to build on our strong corporate franchise internationally,” said Cyril Anand, chief executive of Axis Bank’s UK operations.

In the case of state-owned companies it makes them more dependent on state resources which could be directed into other government programmes such as regeneration and infrastructure improvements at home. If more companies list on the London exchange the cost of capital in the market reduces helping to generate growth in both countries’ economies, he said.   

“Time is ripe for India to deregulate and free up its successful public and private sector companies so they too can benefit from London's financial capacity and expertise,” Johnson said.

Cutting away this red tape is a win-win for both India and London's respective economies, he added.

Making India energy-efficient with BSE Carbonex

While in India, the Mayor also discussed bilateral trade options and launched the Bombay Stock Exchange Low Carbon Index. The BSE Carbonex demonstrates the UK-India collaboration as it builds on lessons learned from the UK experience with an approach suited to the Indian context. The index is aimed at accelerating corporate reporting on emissions and climate strategies.

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