The international banking corporation Citi today announced plans to establish an R&D (research and development) center in Israel. The group examined various sites in the world and ultimately announced its intention to establish an R&D center for innovation in Israel. The center is expected to officially open during the month of December, but Citi has already begun to recruit new workers from the high-tech sector.
Citi, which serves over 200 million clients in about 140 countries, is the second international banking corporation to announce its plans to open an R&D center in Israel. In March, Barclays Capital announced the establishment of an R&D center in Israel for the export of financial services. The announcements by the companies to establish their centers in Israel follow the publication of the "Relative Advantage" government program to promote knowledge industries in Israel. The program was developed by the Ministry of Finance, led by the ministry's director-general Haim Shani, and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, led by Chief Scientist Avi Hasson. The Research Committee chaired by the chief scientist approved a NIS 93 million, five-year grant for Citi in the framework of this program to award incentives to global financial corporations for establishing financial R&D centers in Israel.
The centers will focus on research and development of advanced technology that will serve the global financial industry, an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of technology personnel. The incentives will be awarded to these centers via government participation in the costs of employing the new workers in the framework of a unique track developed by the Chief Scientist's Office in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. The government ministries expect additional banks to join Citi in establishing R&D centers in Israel for this industry.
The finance minister, Dr. Yuval Steinitz, welcomed Citi's announcement, saying that "a year and a half ago, we initiated the ‘Relative Advantage' program, and today two global banking corporations are already in the process of establishing research and development centers in Israel. This is further confirmation of the strength of Israel's human capital. I am sure that these centers are the harbingers and that Israel will continue to solidify its standing as a world center for innovation, development and research."
The minister of industry, trade and labor, Shalom Simhon, said: "The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor views this program as another stage in expanding the policy of business R&D to additional fields. I believe that the research and development activity Citibank will conduct in Israel will boost the financial industry in Israel by training personnel and integrating new information and technologies in the financial sector. The research and development center will serve the global financial industry, will expand the technological foundation of the industry in Israel, and will create a new growth engine for the Israeli economy in the fields of finance that are assuming an increasingly significant role in the global world."
Don Callahan, Citi's chief administrative officer, said: "Citi has many development centers in the world that support the group's global businesses, and it will add the center in Israel to its portfolio as a strategic center of innovation, focusing on the development of advanced products and applications for the capital market. We are happy about the opportunity given to us to generate innovation for our businesses and for the State of Israel."
The CCO of Citi Israel, Ralph Shaya, said "I am pleased that the global management of Citi recognized the abilities of Israelis. The center will again position Israel on the world map as a leader of innovation."
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://new.citi.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi