London Calling: Direct Investment Agency To Open N.Y. Office

Jan 26 2006 | 7:41pm ET

Think London, the official foreign direct investment agency for London, is opening its first overseas office in New York in March in an effort to entice North American firms to do business in the British capital.

“We provide free, confidential and comprehensive advice to help international businesses locate and expand in London,” said David Riches, Think London’s North American director.

Approximately 50-60% of London’s global investment comes from North America, with 30% of that tied to the financial sector, making North American firms an essential part of the European city’s economy. However, in recent years, London has faced increased competition to win U.S. business from cities such as Dublin, which is rapidly becoming known as the next hedge fund hotspot in Europe. Unlike some cities, which offer tax breaks and other financial incentives to companies that come to town, London’s lure is its pool of talent and the market it provides, said Riches.

“The eastern side of London has grants, but that would be for back office operations,” said Riches, who added that most people don’t realize how many North American financial firms have their back-office operations in the outskirts of the city. Riches, who is based in London, explained that if a hedge fund or a private equity firm is interested in opening an office in London, the agency will assign the firm a representative who will walk through the necessary steps of setting up shop.

“We would be able to take them through the process and introduce them to people who could assist with everything from their corporate setup and taxation, finding the right property, getting the right staff, getting their applications into the Financial Services Authority, right through to assisting in public relations once they have actually launched,” said Riches.

In addition to the New York office, Think London—which is funded jointly by local and city government and private businesses— is opening an office in California either late this year or early 2007.

Think London will be holding a New York launch event on March 27 and 28. Those interested in participating in the event can reach Riches at driches@thinklondon.com or +44 207-718- 5428. 


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