Bradley Fried, 49, could be described as the perfect antidote to the typically hard-nosed British financier. The Cape Town-born investor has a warm manner, infectious laugh and rarely wears a tie to work — not exactly what most people might expect of a man so embedded in England’s leading financial institution, the Jewish Chronicle said.
In November, he was appointed deputy chairman of the Bank of England (BoE) after joining as a director two years ago — the first South African believed to have held the role.
“The BoE is arguably one of the most powerful unelected bodies in this country. With that comes a huge responsibility to make sure that it serves the public.
It’s clear that Fried sees his role at the BoE as a public service as, “it isn’t about money; the money is irrelevant. It’s a big time commitment, a pleasure and a great privilege”. And what’s more, the South Hampstead United Synagogue member also believes that he has an overriding duty to support Israel.
In 2010, he teamed up with his childhood friend Leon Blitz to set up investment firm Grovepoint Capital that has made more than $1 billion worth of investment, with two-thirds going to U.K. projects and the rest split between Israel and Germany. “University students often ask: ‘How are you able to invest in Israel, in a state that is so risky?’
“Well, my answer is very Israeli, ” says Fried — who can trace his family’s roots in Jerusalem back more than 300 years. “We’re very supportive of the place.
“Rather than just sit in an armchair and talk rubbish, we invest a huge amount of money, we invest resources and we invest in our future in Israel.
“Israel is a critical source of our future and I’m not just saying that because the JC is interviewing me. It’s the source of some of the greatest innovation that the world has ever known.
“Israel is fantastic at developing ideas and concepts, but they struggle with the last mile. They struggle with the commercialization of businesses. That’s where we fit in.
“We tend to take businesses that are developed in Israel, using Israeli technology and Israeli thinking and the best of Israeli innovation, and we work with them to internationalize those businesses.”
With a home in Herzliya, he travels to Israel every six weeks on average.
Since he left South Africa 25 years ago (to take his career places “where things happen”), he’s come to one overriding conclusion.
“I learnt from my earliest years that you’ve got to give back to the community. The SA Jewish community was a warm, supportive place. It focused a lot on values and was a wonderful environment in which to develop ‘Jewishness’.
“Britain has been remarkable to my family. It’s taken in a young South African and allowed me to build a career; been a warm and welcoming place for my children; allowed me to connect to the state of Israel in a way I want to connect to it; and has thriving grassroots initiatives across the community. What more could I want?” he said.