Ratings agency S&P to open post-Brexit Dublin hub

S&P Global Ratings will create ‘number of managerial, analytical and support’ roles

S&P has confirmed it plans to open a Dublin unit by December 2018 to ensure it meets EU regulations for ratings agencies. Photograph: Alan Betson

S&P has confirmed it plans to open a Dublin unit by December 2018 to ensure it meets EU regulations for ratings agencies. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Business Affairs Correspondent

S&P Global Ratings, owned by the same US group that is behind the Standard & Poors name, is the latest financial company with London operations to choose Dublin as a post-Brexit European hub.

The ratings agency confirmed that it plans to open a Dublin unit by December next year, as part of a structure designed to ensure it continues to meet European Union regulations for ratings agencies.

It has already created the new Dublin-based entity, S&P Global Ratings Europe (S&PGRE), which was registered three months ago. Its directors include a number of senior London-based S&P executives, including its head of tax.

S&P Global Ratings said it could not confirm the number of jobs that would be created in Dublin, but said it would create “a number of managerial, analytical and support positions”.

Staff in London were informed of the Dublin move this week in an email from group chief executive Doug Peterson, the contents of which were reported by the Financial Times. It said the Dublin company would essentially sit at the top of a structure comprising its offices elsewhere in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Corporate structure

“S&P Global Ratings is working hard to minimise Brexit’s potential impact on the markets and our staff and operations,” the company later told The Irish Times. “To achieve this, our Brexit plan features the creation of a corporate structure centred on a new EU-based entity . . . We have selected Dublin as the location for this new entity. All our existing EMEA offices (including London) will operate as branches of the new entity.”

S&P Global Ratings said its Brexit plan “is still subject to regulatory approval from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), our regulator”.

“We hope to have SPGRE up and running by December 2018, well in time for Brexit,” it said.

IDA Ireland on Thursday welcomed the news that S&P Global has selected Dublin as part of its post-Brexit future plans. The company which is now the second ratings agency to set up operations in Ireland following Brexit, has stated it will create a streamlined legal structure centered on a new EU-based entity in Dublin.

Martin Shanahan CEO of IDA Ireland welcomed the news: “As more London based entities diversify and relocate their operations in order to access the European market, Dublin is now emerging as the leading Brexit solution. Dublin’s thriving international financial services sector continues to resonate strongly with overseas investors. IDA Ireland has had a steady flow of Brexit related investments in 2017. All investments are hard won and we cannot be complacent, however, the pipeline looks promising for 2018.

S&P joins a slew of other financial companies, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, who have previously announced similar plans to expand Dublin units to meet EU “passporting” rules, in anticipation of UK institutions possibly being denied those rights post-Brexit.

Barclays in talks

Barclays, for example, also opened talks with the Central Bank of Ireland in the summer, for the UK bank’s Irish unit to function as Barclays’s EU hub following Brexit.

London-based currency exchange operator LMAX Exchange has reportedly delayed a similar decision until 2019, when the new rules around UK-EU passporting will be clearer.

Since shortly after the Brexit vote in June 2016, the Government and IDA Ireland have been specifically targeting financial companies in the City of London to tempt them to open European hubs in Ireland.