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An FDI Tale by Lord Harrington: Review Digs Into Shortcomings of UK's Investment Promotion Set-Up

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

A cautionary tale for APAC Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), sounding an alarm in regions where IPAs may be excessively complex and lack an investor-centric approach - Article by Jacopo Dettoni, FDI Intelligence

Conservative peer Lord Harrington has authored a report exploring the conflicted feelings that foreign investors hold towards the British government’s foreign direct investment (FDI) strategy.

Despite recent headwinds, the Harrington report highlights that the UK’s foundations as an investment destination are solid. However, investors perceive the country’s investment promotion set-up, led by the Office for Investment (OFI) and the Department for Business and Trade, as neither charming nor efficient.

Lord Harrington and his team surveyed more than 200 companies, financial institutions, and sovereign wealth funds to closely examine their experiences dealing with FDI in the UK — “why they invested here if they did, and why not if they didn’t”.
The Harrington report finds that “their experience pointed to a picture of investment not being a priority across the UK government, especially when compared with its peers.”
“One major investor described their frustration at having to ‘troop from department to department’ to meet different secretaries of state covering different areas of responsibility related to their investment, many of whom will have changed office before an agreement was secured,” the review reads. “It added up to a sense of investment and investors not being prioritized at the highest levels of government.”


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