Where could you find a President, an Angry Bird and a City Gent? …

… At Innovate Global Finance fringe event discussing London’s role after Brexit

“London is still the place to be for finance, even after Brexit.”  That was the conclusion of an expert panel discussion at a fringe event of Innovate Finance Global Summit 2018.  The event was held to mark the opening of the London branch of LHV Group, Estonia’s largest domestic banking group, as it bids to become a leading provider of banking services to London’s growing fintech sector.

The topic of the panel discussion was “Will Global cities prevail over countries?”.  The speakers included Mr Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the former president of Estonia and expert in crypto currencies and cyber defence; Mr Peter Vesterbacka, a visionary entrepreneur who built the Angry Bird franchise into a global phenomenon; and Mark Yeandle, the lead author and co-creator of the Global Financial Centres Index.  The panel was hosted by Mr Sten Tamkivi, a start-up entrepreneur and a member of LHV’s supervisory board.

As the discussion was initiated by LHV entering the UK fintech scene, the question arose: how would Brexit affect London’s position as a global financial hub?  President Ilves believes the financial centre of Europe will remain in London despite the political changes or Brexit. Mark Yeandle commented that as well as having been a centre for trade for centuries and a history of innovation, London also has Sterling, the English language, and the time zone going for it. “Even with Brexit, London is not going to disappear, however hard the deal is struck or not struck.  London has a number of things that keep it a great city,” Yeandle stated.

However, the panellists concluded that even though London ranks highly, the City shouldn’t rest on its laurels. Other cities around the world, particularly in Asia, are doing interesting and innovative things that promise to ratchet up the competition for London.

The panel also argued, that although it is difficult for cities to exist without the framework of the state, global cities are the key for future development. “Cities are where the action is.  That is where most of the innovation happens. Talent density is very important,” said Peter Vesterbacka. In addition to talent, trustworthiness, richness in culture and functioning infrastructure were also mentioned as key indicators of successful cities.

The moderator, Mr Tamkivi, concluded: “Cities matter. Nation states matter too, but they need to work in hybrid with the cities, which pull people and companies. Connections matter, connections between individual cities, for people to move around, ideas and capital to move around.”

LHV is a new generation bank that functions as a link between fintechs and banking infrastructure. LHV has set up shop in London to develop the bank’s business line of servicing financial intermediaries, such as fintechs, payment providers, and lenders. The new UK branch will allow LHV to join Pound Payments Systems and provide financial intermediaries with a real-time euros and sterling payments service. LHV is already a direct member of the Euro Payments System and a contributor to the Instant Payments System working group. The bank does not plan to offer services to retail customers or regular business clients in London.

LHV UK already has a small team in London but is currently recruiting for more team members and intends to be in a position to start servicing new financial intermediaries H2 2018.  At that point, LHV will provide banking services for fintechs, including real-time payments, overdraft facilities, and forex.

Notes on LHV

LHV Group AS is an Estonia-based company, which is primarily involved in the financial services industry. The Company operates as a commercial bank and provides wide range of financial services. The Company provides services in four sections: banking services, investing services, financing services, pension services. The Company’s banking services include import payments, bankcards, deposits, bank accounts, among others. The Company’s investing services include investment management, trading services, fund management, among others. The Company’s financing services include loans, leasing, micro loans, overdraft, capital market services, among others. The Company’s pension section offers various pension funds services.


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