It looks as though 2018 will be a fast-paced and important year for the UK.
This week, I leave for my first overseas visit of the new year, to promote all the UK’s financial and professional services industry has to offer the world.
I will be heading to Israel, where I will be promoting London as an innovative and dynamic financial centre. Israel is a trusted friend in the region and a natural partner for British companies.
I will meet businesses, regulators and government officials in Tel Aviv to discuss how we can build on the record levels of bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, science and technology.
In the past three years alone, Israelis have invested more than £300m into infrastructure projects in the UK.
In Jerusalem, I am looking forward to meeting the minister of economy and industry, Eli Cohen, and the governor of the Bank of Israel, Dr Karnit Flug. We will discuss what a future trading and regulatory relationship between our two countries might look like.
Israel is a perfect example of a country with which we should form closer bonds when we leave the EU: a growing and outwardly-focused, entrepreneurial nation with world-leading expertise in the industries of the future such as cyber, fintech, coding, and green finance.
After all, the UK is Israel’s second-largest trading partner, so I expect to meet with enthusiasm for our relationship to develop further over the coming years.
I will also be meeting representatives from many fintech and cyber companies to discuss how London can support the development of innovative new firms in Israel.
London is the ideal city in which to set up a centre of operations as Israeli firms expand and look to take their offer international.
This is due to our talented workforce, open and global outlook, cluster of professional and financial services around the Square Mile, and regulatory support for new and disruptive ideas.
I will be speaking to existing and potential stakeholders in Israel about why London is the ideal market for investment and listing – now and for decades to come.
One aspect of the visit to Israel that I am particularly looking forward to is sharing my Business of Trust programme at a dinner hosted by the UK’s ambassador, David Quarrey. Surrounded by chief executives of many of Israel’s leading companies, this will be my first opportunity to take the Business of Trust abroad this year.
In the UK, public trust in financial and professional services is low, with many people feeling that businesses no longer serve their communities. I am keen to discuss with leaders of the Israeli business community how this initiative would be welcomed in Israel.
My goal is to create better business, trusted by society. We in business need to work tirelessly and constantly in earning the trust of the society that we serve, but we also need to demonstrate that London continues to invest in being the trusted cluster of choice for global businesses.
And in 2018, Israel seems a fitting place to start.