Refinitiv launches BRI Connect deal tracking platform

Date: 21 Jan 2019

Thomson Reuters' former financial and risk unit launched a new comprehensive platform on 14 Jan tracking more than 2,000 Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure projects that will allow global investors and service providers to better identify deal opportunities.

The interactive platform pulls together data on each deal, including scale, progress to date, key parties involved, and helps investors understand each projects' risk and return profile. It also helps law, advisory, and construction companies to search for and bid for projects.

"As Belt and Road reshapes global commerce and China continues to internationalize, being able to unlock the investment opportunities and navigate the risks they present, is crucial for the financial community," said David Craig, CEO of Refinitiv, formerly a part of Thomson Reuters but more recently became a standalone financial data company.

Refinitiv's BRI Connect platform is launched at a time when investors, professional services companies and infrastructure firms are increasingly seeking to engage with BRI opportunities. Lack of sufficient information has been one of the reasons listed by prospective companies as presenting a challenge for deeper engagement.

Refinitiv said its new platform tackles that concern. The 2,000 infrastructure projects tracked by Refinitiv's BRI Connect platform have an aggregate of more than $2 trillion of expected investment value. It also provides background information on about 3,500 organizations involved in these projects, such as employee numbers and shareholder information.

The BRI was proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 to advocate improved connectivity of infrastructure, trade, ideas and knowledge internationally.

As of July 2018, more than 100 countries and international organizations had signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with China, extending the initiative's scope from the Eurasian continent to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the South Pacific region, according to official sources.

London's financial community welcomed the platform, saying it can help bring quality BRI opportunities to global investors, and assist BRI projects to attract capital and become more collaborative internationally.

Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Barclays Bank, said he believes Refinitiv's BRI Connect platform is important to help global investors find projects that are "bankable, affordable and sustainable".

"The Belt and Road Initiative is not a China-only story. For its impact to match its unprecedented ambitions, transparent information has an important role to play in driving global investment," said Grimstone.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation, said the data provided by Refinitiv's BRI Connect platform can help London's financial companies identify BRI opportunities.

"I have long said that London, and indeed the UK as a whole, is the natural Western end of the BRI, and can support by being a key hub for international infrastructure investment. Partnerships between UK and Chinese companies will be key in this respect, and the data produced by Refinitiv's BRI Connect will go someway to helping bring together companies from both sides," she said.

In recent years the City of London has been keen to promote the UK as a financial hub for BRI deals. Last year the City of London Corporation joined the Chinese central bank's research arm to launch a new report examining how London and other global financial centers can contribute to financing projects along the BRI.

According to the report, since 2013 there have been more than 4,500 Belt and Road projects financed globally, with total project value of more than $5 trillion.

Source: China Daily

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