UK financial and professional services group Smith & Williamson has established a European hub in Dublin to ensure its European Union clients can still be serviced in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Smith & Williamson has set up the subsidiary as the operating vehicle for its investment and financial planning activities in the Republic, where it manages about €500 million in assets. The UK’s exit from the European Union led Smith & Williamson to seek approval from the Central Bank to establish a unit here.
Chris Johns, an Irish Times columnist and former chief executive of Bank of Ireland Asset Management, has been appointed as non-executive chairman of the new entity.
Smith & Williamson provides a range of services, including investment management, pensions advisory and personal insolvency. It has 11 offices, two of which – Dublin and Jersey – are outside the UK.
"This is a significant step for our business, recognising the importance of our Irish operations and underlining that the protection of the interests of our existing Irish clients in a post-Brexit world is our prime focus," said Cedric Cruess Callaghan, chief executive of the new operation.
Mr Cruess Callaghan added that this move would see the Dublin office act as a springboard for the company into Europe.
Since it entered the Irish market in 2008, Smith & Williamson has expanded its activities, merging with accountancy firm LHM Casey McGrath in October 2018, which effectively doubled the size of its operations.
Its wealth management division opened in 2011. In addition to Mr Johns's appointment, current CIÉ chair Fiona Ross has joined the board as a non-executive director.
Smith & Williamson is the latest in a long line of banks, law firms and financial advisers that have relocated their European base to the Republic as a result of Brexit.
According to the State's inward investment agency, IDA Ireland, Brexit has directly led to at least 70 individual investments in the Republic including by Barclays, Morgan Stanley, S&P Global and Thomson Reuters.