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Money, money, money…

A look at the wide variety of rewarding careers offered by the funds industry

The funds industry is a multi-varied sector, which has seen incredibly strong growth in the past four-five years. For people interested in a career in the sector, there is a wealth of interesting roles.

The funds industry in Ireland is globally well respected and a thriving sector with more than 17,000 people employed in the industry here. The country is the domicile for 5.7 per cent of worldwide investment funds assets with more than €3 trillion worth of assets domiciled locally. In fact, Ireland is the third-largest funds domicile in the world, and the second-largest in Europe, and more than 14,000 funds are administered from Ireland, representing a total value of over €5.2 trillion in assets under administration (AUA).

“Ireland is the leading European domicile for exchange-traded funds [ETFs], with 50 per cent of the total European ETF market,” says Donna Noonan, IFS Skillnet network manager. “Front and middle office activity is on the rise in Ireland with a number of companies now engaging in multilateral trading facilities, portfolio management and oversight, investment advisory and oversight, investment analysts, and risk and compliance. Green finance is a growing area of focus in Ireland and there is an existing cluster of renewable energy infrastructure fund managers with €7 billion in AUM.”

The funds industry is also becoming an increasingly diverse sector in the past four-five years in terms of the companies based here and where they’re based

—  Eve Finn, managing director, LGIM Ireland

The funds sector is a growing sector and has had a definite growth spurt for the past five years, says Eve Finn, managing director, LGIM Ireland. “It’s a great time to be getting into the funds sector. There is a lot of variety in the type of roles available, and so much to learn and opportunity to grow. It’s also becoming an increasingly diverse sector in the past four-five years in terms of the companies based here and where they’re based – while they’re primarily in Dublin, there are many all around the island of Ireland.”


Ireland is attractive to fund promoters due to its open, transparent and well-regulated investment environment, a strong emphasis on investor protection, an efficient tax structure, and its innovative business culture, says Noonan. “The funds industry is a key player in enabling Europe’s economy and driving sustainable growth. The industry in Ireland is committed to championing excellence and awareness in environmental, social, and governance issues to ensure a sustainable future.

“The industry is diverse which is evident from the breadth and depth of roles available. It is constantly evolving with opportunities in regtech, fintech and sustainable finance. You can have an international career in Ireland by working for an international company but be based in Ireland, and there’s also the opportunity to work abroad and expand your skill set.”

One thing that might be somewhat daunting to newcomers to the sector is the breadth of regulations to which they must adhere. However, Finn believes this is part of what makes the sector so interesting. “Because the sector is changing and regulations are changing and it’s an innovative industry, it means people have to keep on top of learning.

“I’d like to think it’s an opportunity to learn and have a varied career and would appeal to someone who wants to do different things.”

Attitude is also an important consideration for those hiring into the funds industry

—  Donna Noonan, IFS Skillnet network manager

Noonan says the funds sector offers a stable career path with good options for career development and progression. The industry equips individuals with transferable skills including relationship management, business analysis, reporting and project management. “Most positions require a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, finance or commerce. However, employers have often hired from a variety of other backgrounds such as engineering and maths.

“Attitude is also an important consideration for those hiring into the funds industry. There are many graduate training schemes which lead to a career in the funds industry which may be an attractive option.”

The IFS apprenticeship programme through the National College of Ireland is a good option for individuals with a Leaving Certificate to enter the financial services/ funds industry, says Noonan. “The apprenticeship programme leads to a Level 6 Higher Certificate in International Financial Services or a Level 8 Higher Diploma in Financial Services Analytics. The higher certificate and higher diploma programmes in financial services allow candidates to “earn while you learn” by combining paid on-the-job training with academic study which is delivered at NCI.

“These two-year programmes are suitable for Leaving Certificate students or those with an equivalent qualification, who have an interest in pursuing a career in the financial services sector.”

Edel Corrigan

Edel Corrigan is a contributor to The Irish Times