On Tuesday 27th October we had the pleasure to support the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain in the organisation of their first London event, a presentation of the Barometer on Climate and Outlook for British Investment in Spain, which has been put together by AFI. The event was also organised in collaboration with the London School of Economics and took place at The Lincoln Centre.
The Barometer had already been presented in Madrid earlier this year to the members of the British Chamber in Spain. The London presentation allowed a wider audience – including many of our members-, to learn about conclusions of this study and attend different talks with leading business and institutional representatives on how commercial links between Spain and the UK can be strengthened and improved.
The event began with a warm welcome by Roger Cooke, President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain, who thanked attendees and speakers as well as the President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain for our support in this activity. To mark this occasion and in the spirit of collaboration between both institutions, H.E. Mr. Federico Trillo-Figueroa, the Ambassador of Spain, was in attendance for the opening remarks.
Before moving on to the series of talks and round tables that would follow, Mr. Cooke explained that the aim of the event was to analyse and discuss why Spain is a sweet spot for foreign investors, taking as reference the Barometer created by AFI.
After the opening remarks, Ms. Juanita Gonzalez-Uribe, Assistant Professor in Finance at the London School of Economics, introduced the key components of the investment climate in Europe, with a focus on the rise of private equity and why Spain should develop this form of funding for SMEs. Then, Mr. Francisco J. Garzón, CEO of ICEX, took to the floor to present the current outlook on investment opportunities in Spain.
To close the first session, Jose Manuel Amor, Partner at AFI, provided an overview of the key elements the barometer had taken into account to reflect the quantity and quality of British investment in Spain. The results reflected the importance of British investment, which amounts to a cumulative 63€ billion since 1993. In fact, the UK has consistently ranked within the top six gross investors in Spain, and has been the number one investor on seven occasions.
Following the Barometer summary, Mr. Adam Austerfield, Head of Development of Global Market at LSE Enterprise, chaired the institutional roundtable. This counted on the participation of Mr. Martin Phelan, Head of UK Trade & Investment IBERIA, Ms. Inmaculada López, Head of the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in Great Britain, and Mr. David Thomas MBE, Executive Chairman of COBCOE. The roundtable focused on challenges and opportunities for Spain in a global, competitive environment and provided very interesting material for the Q&A session that followed.
After a coffee break, which gave participants the opportunity to chat over the contents previously discussed, it was time for the business roundtable. Mr. Roger Cooked was in charge of introducing the panel of speakers and maintaining the focus of this talk: How to pitch Spain to the board of directors.
This panel was chaired by Ms.Sonya Dowsett, correspondent of Reuters in Madrid, Mr. Steve Cahill, Vice President of Colt Technology Services and Country Manager for Spain of the company, and Mark Hall, CEO of HSBC in Spain.
During the closing remarks, Lord Brennan, QC Chairman of the British-Spanish All-Party Parliamentary Group, highlighted the historical links between the United Kingdom and Spain and how British and Spanish businesses have a lot to gain if they join forces to work on major projects in the Latam region, such as the new Mexico City airport.
We would like to thank the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain and all the speakers for such an insightful and lively event, and also special thanks to our members and attendees for joining us on the day.
If you want to know what we are up to next, have a look at the UPCOMING EVENTS section on our website or alternatively, you could subscribe to our electronic newsletter for weekly updates.