CURRICULUM VITAE

ANDREW KIRBY

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2005

Barclays Commercial Bank

Head of Multinational Corporate Team

2000

Barclays Commercial Bank

Head of Multinational Corporate and Inward Investment Unit

1997

Barclays Commercial Bank

Head of Inward Investment Unit

1993

Barclays Commercial Bank

Head of Corporate Business (West London Business Centre)

 

Q By virtue of your exposure to so many large multinationals, Barclays Commercial Bank is well placed to identify trends in FDI flows – was there any activity which seemed out of the ordinary in 2007, and has the credit crunch had a noticeable effect on FDI flows?

A We are operating in a business-as-usual mode and we certainly haven’t seen the lights go out – the Christmas period is generally quiet anyway, which would explain the slowdown in quarter four of 2007.

And going forward, I don’t think there will be any change within the business community in terms of the need to globalise – there is still a huge appetite among investors to enter new markets.

If more mature markets experience less growth than emerging markets, then there is clearly a great attraction for entrepreneurs to enjoy the benefits of the consistently high levels of GDP growth that those new economies are experiencing.

There were some pretty sizeable mergers and acquisitions last year and I don’t think that will stop – our clients are voting with their chequebooks in terms of acquiring UK businesses.

And they are not just making acquisitions for investment purposes but also as part of their global expansion plans. I think the situation is still very upbeat. There is still a lot of liquidity out there and some may see the current market as a good buying opportunity.

Q What are the challenges for businesses moving to the UK?

A For us who do it every day of the week, locating a firm into the UK seems very straightforward and we have all the processes in place to make that transition as smooth as possible.

But it can be very daunting for a foreign company looking to expand into new markets; dealing with foreigners and local business customs in a strange environment represents a big psychological challenge.

Q What do you see as the biggest draws to the UK for foreign investors?

A The UK’s strength lies in its location and expert talent pool. There are also the environmental factors, such as the global reach of our language and openness of our general business culture.

Q How does your team help foreign investors into the UK?

A Our job is to give first-time investors – whatever the size of their business – a soft landing in the UK.

Our inward investment unit helps investors establish their banking services as well as acting as advisors who link them up with other professional intermediaries such as lawyers, accountants and government agencies.

The inward investment unit is effectively a portal into the entire network of Barclay’s resources. We have a wealth of global expertise – right down to local level – to offer any company looking to expand its operations into the UK.