Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, visited New York last month, not to promote British tourism or compare notes with his counterpart Bill de Blasio, but to showcase financial technology firms.

Johnson accompanied a delegation of representatives from more than 20 U.K. companies who were pitching their wares to prospective investors and prospective bank clients. The trip was organized by Innovate Finance, a trade group started last year to advocate for London's burgeoning financial technology sector. Leading the charge was Claire Cockerton, the group's earnest and energetic founding CEO, who also cofounded Level39, an accelerator program for fintech startups in London's Canary Wharf office district.

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