Bermuda bank sees growth at IFSC

 

DUBLIN's International Financial Services Centre is set to grow much more quickly than Luxembourg, according to the managing director of Bank of Bermuda (Ireland) Mr Gerald Brady.

"Dublin is offshore Britain," said Mr Brady. "We were totally taken aback by the level of interest moving to Dublin created for us."

He expects to employ a further 13 people by the end of the year. The bank, which set up in October 1995, now employs 27 people.

Mr Brady had been pushing his Barbadian bosses for several years to set up in Dublin. In 1995 they finally made the move and Mr Brady moved from the Cayman Islands where he had been managing director for four years.

According to Mr Brady the Central Bank has shown a "willingness to listen" which is not demonstrated by its Luxembourg equivalent, the IML, and others.

But "we have only built the foundations to date and we must continue to develop Dublin as a centre for international fund management", he added.

Bank of Bermuda in Dublin concentrates on providing administrative and custodian services for the international fund managers in the financial services centre.

But Mr Brady is also keen to "expand the private banking side of his operation. This offshore banking and trust work is perhaps what the bank's name is most synonomous with.

However, all private trust work and offshore banking is likely to be done through other jurisdictions. "Ireland has never put modern trust legislation in place," said Mr Brady.

Although the bank will sort out any investor who walks through the door, Mr Brady said he hopes to be actively promoting the services by the end of the year. But offshore private banking can have its own problems. "We don't want to take on unsavoury business, he admitted. Although the popular image of Bermuda is one of serious cash being laundered, Mr Brady insists that it is a misconception. "Money laundering always happens onshore first. Nobody can walk in to us with a suitcase full of cash," he said. But he admitted that Bermuda and other offshore centres are used to hide the trail of ill gotten gains.

Mr Brady also plans to expand the Dublin operations to providing services for captive insurers. In Bermuda the bank has very close ties with captive insurers. Mr Brian Hall is chairman of Johnson & Higgins and deputy chairman of the bank. Mr Joseph Johnson, president and chief executive of AIG, is also a board member with the bank.