London’s New Lord Mayor Looking Ahead to a New Year in Latin America

Together, the City of London and Latin America can build a financial system ready for the future, writes London's Lord Mayor, Peter Estlin…

Together, the City of London and Latin America can build a financial system ready for the future, writes Peter Estlin…

Our countries may be undergoing sweeping political changes, but make no mistake: 2019 has the potential to be an exciting year for collaboration between the UK and Latin America.

The region’s three most populated countries – Brazil, Colombia and Mexico – all elected new presidents in 2018, and I will visit them all during my year-long term as Lord Mayor of London.

I look forward to speaking to LatAm INVESTOR again in the spring after my joint visit to Brazil and Colombia.

Green finance

The UK officially leaves the European Union at the end of March, but regardless of how Brexit progresses we remain firmly committed to strengthening ties with Latin America. I look forward to providing our Brazilian and Colombian partners with more certainty about the UK’s future path, as well as taking advantage of partnership opportunities in green finance and fintech, two fast-growing sectors in which London is a true global leader. Indeed, these two themes are an integral part of my mayoral agenda, Shaping Tomorrow’s City Today.

The challenge as regards to the development of green finance cannot be understated: the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Change estimates that around $93trillion of global infrastructure investment between 2015 and 2030 will need to be green in order to meet climate change commitments. I’m proud to stay that the City of London is stepping up through its support for the Green Finance Initiative which is paving the way towards the regulatory progress that green finance needs to achieve.

"regardless of how Brexit progresses we remain firmly committed to strengthening ties with Latin America…"

The next step will be the launch of the new Green Finance Institute in London in 2019, in conjunction with the UK Government. This will be a unique global one-stop shop for leading climate scientists and investors to work together in new ways. London has already underwritten and issued $80bIllion of green bonds, and the Institute will allow us to do even more.

This was a key theme on my recent visit to Mexico, where I saw the signing of an agreement between the City of London and the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) to promote green finance. I spoke with BMV’s director general Jose-Oriol Bosch about how our organisations can help to raise standards, share our experience and advance our common goals around greening the global financial system.

Fintech future

I also see greater collaboration in fintech likely in 2019. There are more than 700 Latin American fintech companies contributing to a bustling fintech scene, with huge potential: almost half of the population across South America is still unbanked, while in Brazil alone there are some eight million underserved micro and SMEs.  London can help players in Latin America’s fintech market to grow, enabling them to take advantage of these huge market opportunities back home. British fintech companies also have products and services to offer to consumers and businesses across Latin America.

We are the focal point for the UK’s financial sector as well as its creative and technology sectors. There is simply no comparable concentration of talent across these areas – the key ingredients for a flourishing fintech scene – anywhere else in the world.

We should be under no illusions that global markets present a mixed outlook for 2019.  Our potential for collaboration though presents an opportunity for London to work in partnership with Latin America to build a vibrant financial system fit for tomorrow’s challenges, and with our breadth of experience we stand ready to do so.