Top financiers due to attend UK green investor summit

Bosses of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, BlackRock and Blackstone
Bosses of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, BlackRock and Blackstone.
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The bosses of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, BlackRock and Blackstone will be among the world’s top financiers attending a green summit that UK ministers want to generate billions of pounds of investment for Britain.

More than 200 investors are expected to attend the event this month, which will be hosted by prime minister Boris Johnson and precede the UK convening the UN COP26 climate summit in November.

The investor event will involve a reception at Windsor Castle attended by members of the royal family, and a conference and dinner in London.

The majority of those invited are overseas financiers, including Goldman Sachs’s chief executive David Solomon, JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon, BlackRock’s Larry Fink and Blackstone’s co-founder Stephen Schwarzman. There will also be representatives from leading sovereign wealth funds such as GIC and Mubadala.

Others expected to attend include Barclays’ boss Jes Staley, Santander chair Ana Botín, Charlie Nunn, new chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, Schroders’ head Peter Harrison and Clare Woodman, European leader at Morgan Stanley.

David Livingstone, Citi’s head of Europe, NatWest’s chief executive Alison Rose and Amanda Blanc, boss of Aviva, are also due to participate. Economist Dambisa Moyo will chair parts of the event, said people briefed on the arrangements.

In 2019 the UK adopted one of the toughest climate targets in the world by legislating for a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050, but the prime minister is coming under pressure to outline a clear path for how Britain will achieve the goal.

UK officials said a number of deals and commitments to invest in Britain would be announced at the investor summit.

“This is being held to make deals happen,” said one official familiar with the preparations. “You won’t be invited unless you are a trigger puller with either something to build in the UK or a deal to be struck.”

Ana Botín, executive chair of Banco Santander © Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg

But another person with knowledge of the event said: “Many of the leaders attending already have robust plans to meet zero carbon targets: they are good captains of industry. So any pledge they make will be more about show than substance.”

The emphasis at the investor summit will be on “green” technology and finance, including the UK’s nascent strategy for electric vehicle battery production.

The Financial Times reported in June that six companies were in talks with the UK about building so-called gigafactories for the production of batteries for electric cars, in moves that could secure the future of Britain’s automobile industry. Nissan subsequently announced plans for Britain’s first large-scale battery factory, but analysts say several more are needed.

Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak are both expected to give speeches at the investor summit, said people familiar with the plans.

An invitation brochure seen by the Financial Times describes the event as the UK’s “largest and most prestigious gathering of global investors and businesses”.

There will be panel discussions where ministers and investors will be asked for ideas on how governments and business should allocate capital to tackle climate change.

The investor summit echoes similar moves by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who has several times in the past few years used the splendour of the Palace of Versailles to woo business leaders and urge them to “Choose France” for investment.

UK’s International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan © Hannah McKay/Reuters

“The UK government has looked at what France does with its annual Versailles conference and realised they are missing a trick,” said one person familiar with the invitation.

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said that the UK investor summit would “will have a real impact on our competitive business environment and help attract significant investment in the green industries of the future”.

A government spokesperson declined to comment on the summit attendees or other details.

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