Lord Mayor Michael Bear_311.
(photo credit: Moshe Shai)
City of London Lord Mayor Michael Bear opened trading at the Tel Aviv Stock
Exchange on Sunday, ahead of a panel discussion on opportunities for cooperation
between London and Tel Aviv.
Trading resumed with an increase of more
than 2 percent, prompting Bear to quip that contrary to what his name would
suggest, he had helped produce a bull market.
Bear, the 683rd lord mayor
of London, spoke primarily about what his city can offer trading partners.
Declaring the city “open for business,” he said it had become “a little bit
complacent over the last 15 years,” but is now “looking to trade
internationally, to create jobs for the economy.”
The city business and
financial district, which is located within an area of just over one square mile
in central London, contributes about £54 billion a year to the UK’s economy, or
roughly 10 percent of gross domestic product, he said.
Bear said there
were five reasons why London was still number one on the Global Financial
Services Index, ahead of New York, Hong Kong and Singapore, including:
availability of skilled people; a business-friendly environment (“our legal
system is predictable and clear”); infrastructure; and access to international
The final reason, he said, was “the cluster of the best lawyers,
best accountants, bankers and financiers, all within a square mile,” which
“makes us absolutely unique.”
As lord mayor, which is largely a
ceremonial role, Bear has taken on the task of pursuing Prime Minister David
Cameron’s vision for commercial diplomacy. Israel, which marks
approximately the halfway point of his 23-country world tour, has been earmarked
as one of the countries the UK can work with to “take advantage of global growth
in the next 20, 30 years,” he said, referring specifically to the strength of
both countries in creativity and innovation.
Bear, who is Jewish, said
Israel has transformed itself dramatically since he was a child growing up in
Britishcontrolled Cyprus, when he used to catch the boat over to Haifa with his
family because “it was cheaper than getting a rabbi over there.”
Ambassador Matthew Gould introduced Bear, saying his visit proves the UK sees
Israel as a “key partner – a partner to which we attach enormous
Gould said a recent white paper on economic growth mentioned only
one country by name, Israel, because “the United Kingdom has committed itself
nationally to forging the strongest possible hi-tech partnership with
“We are convinced we [the UK] have a lot to offer,” he said, “We
are also convinced, in return, that if we can get this partnership right, that
the Israeli economy, as a partner for us, can be a real driver for economic
Israel Securities Authority director of international affairs
Yael Almog said talks aimed at reaching a bilateral agreement between the ISA
and the London Financial Services Authority had so far been
“Until now, the only way to list in Israel from London has been
using the dual-listing regime based on the ISA’s unilateral recognition of UK
prospectus and reporting requirements,” she said.
“The ISA intends to
move toward mutual recognition arrangements and reach memoranda of understanding
with the FSA and other European regulators,” following the landmark European
Securities and Markets Authority decision concerning Israeli prospectus in
March, Almog said.
That decision, the first involving a non-EU country,
means an Israeli prospectus is now considered valid under the EU Prospectus