Ireland ‘cannot be complacent’ on international financial services

Government seeks views on how competitive sector might be placed on ‘strong footing’

Minister of State for Financial Services  Michael D’Arcy: “We cannot simply assume future success, particularly in the wake of challenges such as Brexit and the regulatory and tax reforms in the US.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Minister of State for Financial Services Michael D’Arcy: “We cannot simply assume future success, particularly in the wake of challenges such as Brexit and the regulatory and tax reforms in the US.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

A Government consultation on the development of a new strategy for international financial services admits that it “cannot be complacent and assume future success” for the sector in light of intense competition from other markets.

Michael D’Arcy, the Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, is inviting submissions from industry companies and organisations, as well as the wider public, on how the sector might be placed “on a strong footing” in the era of challenges such as Brexit and tax reform.

The consultation document also cites the impact of technological innovations on business models and changes to regulatory and supervisory regimes among the potential threats to the sector as it currently operates.

It asks respondents to identify the strategies or policies that require improvement as well as those that might point to the best opportunities for future growth. Views are also sought on the chief risks to the sector and the reasons why the State is an attractive location for international financial services (IFS) companies.

The existing Government strategy for the sector, known as IFS2020, was launched in March 2015. According to the Department of Finance, it has helped add 7,000 jobs, bringing the total number of jobs in the sector to almost 42,000 by the end of 2017. The strategy’s original target was for 45,000 jobs by the end of 2020.

The most recent action plan identified green and sustainable finance, aviation finance, regional jobs growth and helping Ireland become a global location for private equity funds management as some of its main priorities for the sector.

More attractive

The plan also contains a number of measures aimed at making Ireland more attractive for financial technology (FinTech) companies, including a dedicated €500,000 Enterprise Ireland fund for investing in 10 start-ups in the fourth quarter of this year.

It also highlighted a need for more co-ordinated promotion and marketing of Ireland as a location for international financial services through initiatives such as overseas trade missions and overseas ministerial engagements on St Patrick’s Day.

The closing date for submissions to the strategy is October 25th. The Minister said his intention was to bring a draft strategy to Government later this year and publish it in early 2019.

‘Extremely competitive’

The international financial services sector has grown to become “a major component of our economy in terms of employment, exports and tax revenues”, Mr D’Arcy said. However, he also warned that it was an “extremely competitive and mobile” sector.

“We cannot simply assume future success, particularly in the wake of challenges such as Brexit and the regulatory and tax reforms in the US,” he said.

“This consultation is an opportunity for interested stakeholders to contribute to the development of this sector over the medium-term.”