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Gov’t sets R&D center plan for foreign financial cos

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Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Industry Ministry’s Sharon Kedmi: This plan meets the world’s need for sophisticated solutions to support the financial industry.

The Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor today announced the launch of a plan to encourage international financial companies to set up R&D centers in Israel. The objective is to create a new economic growth engine from financial services. The plan is part of the Relative Advantages Plan for the rapid development of an information-intensive industry in Israel, which will be managed by Chief Scientist Dr. Eli Opper.
The plan states that participating international financial companies must commit to staying for five years in Israel and to employ at least 25 R&D employees in the first year, 50 employees in the second year, and at least 80 employees in the third and subsequent years. The companies must also promise that at least 90% of the R&D employees at the financial centers that they will set up will be Israeli citizens.

Ministry of Finance director general Haim Shani and Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor director general Sharon Kedmi have met with leading international financial companies, which have expressed great interest in the idea.

The government will provide 40% of the plan’s total budget approved by the Office of the Chief Scientist in the first and second years, 30% in the third and fourth years, and 25% in the fifth year. Projects set up in outlying areas will be eligible for 50% government funding in the first and second years, 40% in the third and fourth years, and 35% in the fifth year.

Kedmi said, “This plan is designed to meet the world’s need for sophisticated analytical solutions that support the financial industry. Israel has quality manpower with advanced technological infrastructures and good quality higher education. Israeli companies will join multinational companies already active in Israel, such as Intel and Google, which are steadily expanding their activity in Israel.”