Ireland victim of ‘black propaganda’ as Brexit jobs fight gets nasty

Rival countries highlighting negatives about Ireland, says official

The IFSC in Dublin. Centres such as Luxembourg, Brussels and Frankfurt appear to be among the early leaders in a race to sign up London-based firms seeking new EU bases. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The IFSC in Dublin. Centres such as Luxembourg, Brussels and Frankfurt appear to be among the early leaders in a race to sign up London-based firms seeking new EU bases. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Ireland has been the victim of “black propaganda” as it vies with other European countries to lure financial services activities from the City of London amid Brexit, according to a senior official in the Department of Finance.

Speaking at a Financial Services Ireland event in Dublin on Thursday, Paul Ryan, head of the department’s international finance division, said feedback from financial industry sources has highlighted that some jurisdictions seeking the win Brexit business have resorted to highlighting negatives about moving to Ireland.

“We all know about housing and infrastructure, but sometimes there’s a lot of black propaganda in the wings and we like to hear about that,” Mr Ryan said. “In many respects, the industry and representative bodies are our eyes and ears on the ground. They pick up information for us and feed it back.”

The comments come as centres such as Luxembourg, Brussels and Frankfurt appear to be among the early leaders in a race to sign up London-based firms seeking new European Union bases to retain access to the single European market as the UK quits the union.

Regulatory arbitrage

Eoghan Murphy, Minister of State with responsibility for financial services, has previously complained of creeping “regulatory arbitrage” among rival jurisdictions fighting for a slice of London’s financial services industry.

Insurers AIG, Hiscox, QBE and CNA Hardy have all opted in recent months to set up EU hubs in Luxembourg, while insurance syndicate Lloyds of London has decided on Brussels.

Frankfurt is expected to see an influx of trading jobs and broker-dealers as the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley make final decisions in the coming months.

Still, banking group Barclays and investment firms Standard Life and Legg Mason are among firms that plan to set up European bases in Dublin as they prepare for the fallout from Brexit.

In addition, JP Morgan plans to add hundreds of jobs to its existing 500-strong Irish workforce as it expands its fund administration business here and moves some Brexit-related activities to Dublin.

Credit Suisse may also seek a full banking licence here and Bank of America Merrill Lynch has said Dublin is its “default” location in the EU following Brexit.

“There is positive news on the way,” Mr Ryan said, without identifying any companies.

He add the State was not interested in brass-plate outfits seeking to set up in Ireland and that the country’s “strong independent regulator” should be seen as a positive by companies considering their options.