Disappointing number of financials plan to come to Dublin post-Brexit

Transfers from London mainly going to Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Brussels and Paris

IDA Ireland has been promoting Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre as something of a post-Brexit “Canary dwarf”. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

IDA Ireland has been promoting Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre as something of a post-Brexit “Canary dwarf”. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

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After absorbing the initial shock of UK voters’ decision to quit the European Union in the June 2016referendum, 2017 was supposed to be the year when Ireland got a glimpse of the upside, with experts predicting that thousands of financial jobs would move from London to Dublin as firms sought to maintain access to the single market.

The experience so far has been less than overwhelming.

Frankfurt has managed to secure most of the high-paying trader roles up for grabs, while Luxembourg and Brussels landed early headline wins on the insurance front. Last month, the Republic lost out to Paris in a hard-fought and high-profile battle to lure the European Banking Authority from London.

IDA Ireland has been promoting Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre as something of a post-Brexit “Canary dwarf” emphasising how Ireland will be the only English-speaking, common-law jurisdiction in the EU after the UK’s departure, along with the usual pitch of its low corporate tax rates and highly educated workforce.

But this has been countered by concerns over housing shortages, a dearth of schools offering an international curriculum, transport infrastructure deficits and rumblings, highlighted in a recent letter from Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance Michael D’Arcy to the Central Bank, about the regulator’s “unhelpful attitude” to processing Brexit-related investment. The Central Bank has rejected this criticism, but the perception remains.

IDA efforts

The IDA’s efforts have worked in part. Citigroup, which employs about 2,500 people in Dublin, said in July that it will be expanding its operation in the State, alongside other EU cities, including Amsterdam and Luxembourg. However, it has chosen Frankfurt to become its EU trading hub, or base for its broker-dealer.

JP Morgan agreed in May to acquire an office building under construction in Dublin’s south docklands, which would give the US banking giant the capacity to double its Irish workforce to 1,000. Meanwhile, Bank of America Merrill Lynch plans to merge its existing Irish unit with its current main EU bank in London to create its future main European banking entity in Dublin.

Barclays and Morgan Stanley have also signalled Irish expansion plans, while a number of insurers, including Beazley, Standard Club and Chaucer, and fund managers like Legal & General and Legg Mason have elected to set up EU hubs in Ireland.

However, jobs created in many of these firms will be in the tens, rather than hundreds.

It would appear that this stage that any Brexit dividends will be won by stealth, rather than grand announcements.

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