LONDON, Feb 17: There will be no major impact on Indian banking operations in the UK post-Brexit and the British capital will continue to be the global “financial hub”, according to the UK chief of State Bank of India.
Sanjiv Chadha, the SBI’s Regional Head for the UK and chair of the Association of Indian Banks in the country, said that Indian banks in the UK are set for a new phase of growth as they prepare to expand operations into subsidiaries.
In reference to Brexit, the banking chief said he did not foresee a major impact on Indian banking operations in the UK and believed that London would continue to be the global “financial hub”.
“Indian banks have always followed the diaspora and just as the diaspora has transformed and grown, the Indian banks are also being asked to subsidiarise as we have also grown,” Chadha said yesterday while addressing a special event here organised to celebrate the contribution of Indian banks by the Asian Business Publications Limited (ABPL) media house.
“State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda will have both branch operations and subsidiary operations. The importance of this move is a wider balance sheet size,” he said.
The Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority had directed British operations of foreign-owned banks taking deposits of more than 100 million pounds to restructure with their own ring-fenced capital.
Subsidiaries are subject to more complex clearances, while branches are part of a home office legal entity and don’t require their own capital base in the UK.
Chadha confirmed that SBI and Bank of Baroda are set to make the transition from a branch to subsidiary in the next three to six months, following which they will have a dual presence in the UK.
“As the economy has changed, we have changed along with it, with new products on offer. Indian banks offer by far deposit rates, the best remittance rates to India and best interest rates for lending opportunities. As we go ahead, Indian banks will play a larger role and for that we are willing to go the extra mile,” he noted.
His vote of confidence was echoed by NRI industrialist G P Hinduja, the co-chair of the Hinduja Group.
“We are today living in a world of uncertainties, be it the election of Donald Trump or Brexit… But one thing I can say with certainty is that India is the best destination for investments and Indian banks in the UK have all the capability to become No. 1 in the UK,” Hinduja said.
Saikat Sen Sharma, Counsellor (Economic) at Indian High Commission in London, concluded: “India sees Brexit more as an opportunity and we are confident London will retain its position as global financial hub.”
The event was held at the east London branch of Courthouse Hotel, the newest property owned by NRI hotelier Joginder Sanger. (PTI)