South Korea’s Mirae stalls on plan for Dublin trading centre

Decision comes two months after picking Dublin over London for the business

South Korea’s Mirae Asset Financial Group had planned to buy a building in Dublin’s IFSC for a new trading base.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

South Korea’s Mirae Asset Financial Group had planned to buy a building in Dublin’s IFSC for a new trading base. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

South Korean investment group Mirae Asset Financial Group has stalled plans to set up a global trading centre in Ireland, two months after picking Dublin in favour of London for the business as it assessed the outcome of Brexit.

The move has come as a surprise in Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre sector, as it had already begun the process of headhunting staff and had registered a subsidiary in Dublin with the companies office, using two partners with law firm A&L Goodbody as its initial directors.

It was not immediately clear on Monday why the plan has been halted. However, it is understood that it has not been scrapped entirely.

Press representatives for the group in Seoul didn’t respond to an email seeking comment, while officials at the firm in London didn’t respond to calls as the UK enjoyed a bank holiday.

Mirae, which has more than $100 billion (€83.5 billion) of assets under management, had previously indicated that it would base about 20 traders in Dublin, relocating staff from London, Hong Kong and other cities, as well as hiring locally.

Mirae’s group chairman, Park Hyeon-joo, said in an interview with the Maeil Business Newspaper in South Korea at the end of June that the company aimed to buy a building in the IFSC in Dublin, adding that it planned to use the base for mergers and acquisitions, starting with a European exchange-traded funds (ETF) firm.

Mixed success

Its decision to put its move to Dublin on ice comes as the Government and IDA Ireland have experienced mixed success in recent times in their efforts to lure front-office financial jobs as a result of Brexit. The IFSC has traditionally been a location for back- and middle-office functions of major international financial firms.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in July that it planned to expand its operation in Dublin, including the setting up of a broker-dealer subsidiary. However, it was reported last week that the unit’s actual trading activities may be located in Paris or Frankfurt.

Meanwhile, Toronto Dominion Bank selected Dublin last week for its new trading hub inside the European Union, with plans to establish a bond-dealing business in the Republic, subject to regulatory approval.

Barclays is expected to add trading jobs as it establishes its EU hub in Dublin, potentially doubling its existing 120-strong Irish workforce.