A conference in Limerick for local business leaders, hosted by Financial Services Ireland (FSI), the Ibec group that represents the sector, today explored how the Mid-West can become a finance hub, if the objectives of the Government’s International Financial Services (IFS2020) strategy are realised and if regions get their fair share of economic growth post-Brexit.
Speakers at the conference, Making the Mid-West a finance hub, which was sponsored by Northern Trust, included Willie O’Dea T.D.; Niall O’Callaghan, Business & Relationship Manager, Mid-West Region, IDA; Dr. Ed Walsh, founding President of University of Limerick; Fergal O’Brien, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Ibec and; Sharon Higgins Director of Member Services, Ibec. Clive Bellows, Head of Global Fund Service EMEA and Head of Northern Trust, Ireland and Denis McCarthy, CEO FEXCO outlined to delegates why they chose to establish their businesses in the Mid-West.
Marc Coleman, Director of FSI said:
“While the impact of Brexit on financial services employment in Ireland is still evolving and nothing is certain, it is vital that the regions of Ireland get their fair share of any jobs growth. This is very much in keeping with the objectives of the Government’s strategy for International Financial Services- IFS2020.
“It is particularly important to ensure that the net impact of Brexit on job creation across all sectors is as regionally neutral as is possible. The presence of Northern Trust in Limerick shows that the Mid-West has clear potential for further growth. Today's conference serves to highlight this. With the right infrastructure, skills supply and support in place, all regions, such as the Mid-West, can address economic and societal imbalances. If we invest wisely now, all regions will benefit in the years to come and business will create more jobs locally. The Government’s new National Planning Framework, has the capacity to address this alongside IFS2020. Ibec has called for these strategies to be underpinned by an all-Ireland approach to planning and increased investment in transport, broadband, water services, health and education infrastructure across all regions."
Niall O’Callaghan, Business & Relationship Manager, Mid-West Region, IDA Ireland said:
“Financial Services in the Mid-West region, with Limerick at its core, is thriving. Through the delivery of IDA Ireland’s Regional Strategy and supporting the IFS2020 Action Plan, we have seen the evolution of FinTech and eCommerce companies such as Digital River, ACI Worldwide, and most recently First Data. That, combined with the tradition of aircraft leasing and the continued growth of the funds industry through Northern Trust, has identified the Mid-West as a viable, competitive regional location for international operations with access to a large talent pool, international connectivity and an unrivalled work-life balance.”
Dr. Ed Walsh, founding President of the University of Limerick and now of Oakhampton Consultants said:
“Enabling large regional cities like Limerick Cork and Galway - and satellite towns - to plan a collaboration of the necessary scale and sophistication to create an alternative to Dublin is critical. Regions should take the initiative in planning a corridor of ‘e-towns’ and ‘creative cities’ whose living and working conditions can be as attractive to potential investors and start ups as Dublin is and, where clusters of activity can also revitalise rural towns and villages.”