Over 40 International Bankers and their guests attended a successful event hosted by the Estonian Embassy in South Kensington on October 20. We were welcomed by Ambassador H.E. Viljar Lubi who discussed the close relationship between Estonia and the UK in finance and innovation. WCIB Master, Jason Van Praagh, also welcomed everyone. He then gave an introduction to the WCIB, and explained that this was his first official event as Master, as well as our first event at a foreign embassy in several years.
Maarja Pehk, Head of Investor Relations and FDI in the UK, Invest Estonia, gave a fascinating presentation on the Estonian economy and its online government services. She stated that the only things a citizen can't do online are get married or divorced. All citizens have a digital identity, and they have a favourable programme for digital companies and investors. There is 0% tax on retained profits, and it ranks top for international tax competitiveness. She also discussed the vibrant community of start ups, with Estonia having the most unicorns and VC funding in Europe. Skype was an early success story, and it has gone on to include Bolt, Monese, Playtech and Wise.
Erki Kilu WCIB member and the CEO of LHV UK, a leading banking services provider, followed with macro economic comments on Estonia. He explained that Estonia is a cashless society, and that Estonian banking is only 30 years old.
Estonian fintech company, Tuum, was also at the event to explain how Estonian companies provide much of the foundational technology for many fintechs. Matthew Webb, Business Development Director UK and Giorgio Daher, Sales Director Tuum, explained their core banking platform and described how it is being used internationally.
The presentation was followed by a drinks and canapé reception where we continued our conversation. Everyone from the WCIB was obviously pleased to be out at an event in-person, celebrating our tradition of both fellowship and professional development.
Photo caption 1: H E The Ambassador, Viljar Lubi and the Master International Banker, Jason Van Praagh
Photo caption 2: from left to right - The Ambassador, Maarja Pehk, Agaate Antson from the Embassy; Erki Kilu from LHV UK; The Master International Banker; Georgio Daher and Matthew Webb, both from Tuum.