IFSC faces ‘radical rethink’ as effects of crash become clear
Global financial crisis place financial services centre at a crossroads
Ryan’s paper makes eight proposals, including “relaunching the IFSC brand” along product lines – global asset finance, a global servicing platform and a global listing platform.
It suggests a “comprehensive review” of rival centres with the assistance of a number of bodies, including the IDA and the Clearing House Group, a steering committee comprising representatives from various parties involved in the IFSC that operates under the auspices of the Department of the Taoiseach.
The document recommends the creation of a JobsHub to allow firms seeking staff to “find people quickly and cost effectively”.
Better marketing is another proposed plank of the strategy, with a single website bringing together the activities of the various agencies, departments and other bodies trying to sell the IFSC as a location for investment.
It said one way to achieve this would be to “draw” in existing IFSC companies as “ambassadors” for the centre.
In addition, it is suggested that the larger players in the IFSC are targeted with a view to attracting more of their operations – “increasing the size of the pie” is how it is described.
“Some are working already such as Cantor [Fitzgerald] and Bank of New York without help but we need to harness these positive developments to see if there is more,” the document states.
It also highlights the potential to develop our own indigenous activities by co-investing in new funds to allow start-ups for those “with ambition to build small, niche financial services businesses in Ireland, using the NPRF [National Pension Reserve Fund] and other NTMA funds”.
It cites Singapore as an example of a successful co-investment strategy by a State.
This process has being acted upon to some degree following the Government’s recent decision to change the NPRF’s focus away from pensions and towards being a strategic investment fund for the State to help stimulate economic activity.
In terms of the banking model, Ryan suggested there might be legs to supporting “bad bank” models for managing distressed assets.
Significant expertise has been developed in the past few years at the National Asset Management Agency.
Certus, an Irish company formed by former employees of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) initially to manage that bank’s withdrawal from this market over a period of time, believes its offering can travel to the UK and other European markets, where banks and other institutions are working through large portfolios of problem loans.
A spokesman for the Department of Finance said the position paper was drafted to inform senior management – secretary general John Moran and the second secretary in the finance services division Ann Nolan – about the challenges and opportunities at the IFSC.