The Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Vincent Keaveny and Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih discussed the opportunities for increased trade and investment between the two countries in light of the ongoing UK-GCC free trade negotiations. “As part of the Saudi Vision 2030 to diversify the country’s economy, London’s expertise opens up huge possibilities for closer partnership in services acting as a key enabler of diversification and source of funding,” Keaveny said after the meeting.

The Lord Mayor noted that the UK already has a strong trade and investment relationship with Saudi Arabia. “Saudi investment in the UK through sovereign wealth funds has had huge mutual benefits, including urban regeneration in the UK and knowledge transfer to Saudi Arabia. This is a promising start, and there is plenty more scope for further investment,” he said.

Keaveny arrived in Riyadh, leading a senior business delegation to Saudi Arabia, for the first time during his mayoralty. The delegation includes Nicholas Lyons, chairman of the Board at Phoenix Group and Sheriff of the City of London; Martin Gilbert, chairman of Toscafund, Revolut, and others; and Robert Cashmore MBE, head of Institutional Funds Distribution, the Middle East at Octopus. The visit demonstrates Keaveny’s commitment to strengthening trade and business relationships between the UK and Saudi Arabia.

The Lord Mayor serves as the international ambassador for the UK’s world-leading financial and professional services sector. During the visit, he met senior members of the Saudi government, investment authorities, regulators, and business leaders to strengthen ties and discuss collaboration in Green Finance and Insurance. As the Financial Services Champion for the Strategic Partnership Council between the UK and Saudi Arabia, the discussions advanced trade and investment opportunities between the two kingdoms.

The Lord Mayor and the delegation also met with the stakeholders of the Kingdom’s burgeoning insurance sector. The meeting attained great significance since the UK is the world’s most international and connected financial center, providing unrivaled access to global markets.

“As a global financial center, London is not only good at drawing capital into its borders but also great at spreading capital throughout the globe via a large number of international banks, asset managers, and global institutional investors who are clustered in London. By working together, British expertise and access to global markets can help to unleash the huge potential of the Saudi financial services sector,” he pointed out.

It is noteworthy that the UK is the leading exporter of financial services across the world, to a value of $71.35 billion (£64billion). London houses more foreign banks and accounts for more international bank lending than any other world center. The UK also offers exceptional maritime services, Islamic finance, legal services, insurance, education, and infrastructure financing and delivery.