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Sun 3 Feb 2019 08:06 AM

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UK fintech firms welcome in Bahrain in wake of Brexit, says Bahrain EDB CEO

Bahrain Economic Development Board CEO Khalid Al Rumaihi said that Bahrain is "optimistic" it can leverage what British firms want to do externally after the the country leaves the European Union

UK fintech firms welcome in Bahrain in wake of Brexit, says Bahrain EDB CEO
Bahrain Economic Development Board CEO Khalid Al Rumaihi said that the Bahrain EDB may expand its existing office in London.

Bahrain is “optimistic” it will be able to take advantage of Britain’s looming exit from the European Union as more UK firms look abroad for business opportunities, said Bahrain Economic Development Board CEO Khalid Al Rumaihi.

While Al Rumaihi said that the UK is in discussions with the GCC, detailed discussions cannot proceed until Brexit is complete.

“The UK is now going to want to establish independent trade relations and will focus on allowing British companies to expand,” he said. “Brexit will free constraints that they have.”

In his remarks, Al Rumaihi said that the UK is already “a major focus” for the EDB, with Bahrain and the rest of the GCC already consumers of UK services of various kind.

“But we’re more confident that Brexit will allow us to leverage what the British want to do externally,” he added.

In the aftermath of Brexit, Al Rumaihi said that the Bahrain EDB may expand its existing office in London.

Among the most important aspects of the post-Brexit Bahrain-UK trade relationship, he added, will be financial technology companies.

In late January, Innervate, a UK-based fintech start-up, announced that it had chosen Bahrain to open its first regional office. The company specialises in the development of customer relationship management technology.

“The City of London has a great FinTech scene. That’s an immediate area of interest as these companies want to come to the Middle East,” he said. “If a firm is approved by the Bank of England and the regulator there, it will be much easier to migrate here.”

In late December, Simon Penney, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, told Arabian Business that he believes that Brexit will be a “very positive story” for the GCC and for British companies that are doing or hope to do business in the region.