The deputy chairman of the Bank of England is leading a 36-strong delegation of British investors to Israel, meeting 41 Israeli entrepreneurs in 72 hours.
The Old Lady’s number two Bradley Fried led the selection bankers and wealth managers in a whirlwind tour taking in business parks, accelerators and venture capital funds, as Britain’s politicians stalled back home on the Brexit process.
The investment foray, organised by UK Israel Business (UKIB), heard from start-ups operating in artificial intelligence, internet of the soil, automotive technology, big data, marketing technology, drones, digital health, fin-tech, robotics and cyber security.
UKIB’s Hugo Bieber said the large delegation was “a sign that UK and Israel can be confident that the opportunities are truly huge”.
He added: “London’s status as a global financial hub and the English language is a major asset. The cultural affinity between Britain is Israel is also obvious. There are so many opportunities for British investors in Israel.”
While more than 300 Israeli firms now operate in the UK, with 28 listed on the London Stock Exchange, UKIB said Brexit may throw a spanner in the works, and called on the Government to “ensure a smooth Brexit transition and ongoing access to the EU market,” arguing that a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ could damage trade.
UKIB also called for a visa system that welcomes skilled Israelis into the UK and a “comprehensive bilateral trade deal between the UK and Israel,” as well as a “straightforward customs process” that does not impact on perishable and time-sensitive products.