Birmingham must market itself better to attract more investment from Brazil and other emerging markets, according to the director of a South American investment bank.
Leonardo Antunes, managing director of Brazilian investment bank Broadspan Capital, said that international thinking was still dominated by London so cities needed to be more pro-active in getting their message across.
“Birmingham needs to market the region,” he said. “It is important to sell the region in Brazil. When Brazilians think of Britain, they usually think of London.
“An easy alternative for them would be Portugal or Spain. In the past Portugal was seen as a bridge to Brazil which is considered the leading country of Latin America and is growing by about three per cent.”
Mr Antunes said there were similarities between the Brazilian and West Midlands economies with synergies that could be mutually beneficial.
He said: “The regions are getting a lot of investment. It is very difficult to bring off a new venture from scratch. You need to go in on joint ventures and mergers.
“We have several tax incentives. In the automotive sector we are receiving huge investment from Korean, Chinese and Japanese companies.
“Autoparts and general supply chain companies should be there.
“Birmingham’s autoparts, IT and food production industries could attract investment from Brazil.
“We need Brazilian banks to have more of a presence here, they are just in London at the moment.
“I think England could be a good place to establish a European headquarters, if you are just in Portugal or Spain you are not really in Europe.”
Mr Antunes was in the UK visiting Catalyst Corporate Finance, a partner company through the International Mergers Alliance.