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Saturday 30 August 2014

Enda Kenny: Ireland can be leader in financial services sector

Financial crisis put spotlight on need for proper regulation

Sarah Stack

Published 18/06/2014 | 15:10

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny

IRELAND can be a leader in the international financial services sector without putting extra regulatory burdens on firms which play by the rule, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

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Mr Kenny said rebuilding the country’s international reputation has been key to attracting investment and jobs, adding that Ireland has also positioned itself as a world-class domicile for funds.

The Irish funds sector employs over 13,000 people and the value of investment funds domiciled or administered in Ireland is an estimated €2.7trillion.

However the Taoiseach warned the financial crisis placed a spotlight on the need for appropriate and balanced global regulation.

”Our economy, our international reputation and above all the Irish people suffered devastating consequences due to the regulatory and governance failures of the past,” Mr Kenny told the Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA) annual conference.

“We now recognise that there is no alternative to watchfulness and vigilance in financial regulation. We need to demonstrate that we have learned from previous mistakes and that the governance, regulatory and enforcement failures of the past will never happen again.

“We need a regulatory environment that is seen as robust, certain and reliable and that ensures the highest standards for the industry.

“Our goal is for Ireland to continue to be a leader in the international financial services sector underpinned by a leading regulatory model. We believe that this can be achieved without creating an unnecessary regulatory burden on firms which play by the rules.”

Legislation for an Irish open-ended investment vehicle, the ICAV, is a high priority for the Government which is expected to be published before the summer recess, he continued.

The Taoiseach said the Irish funds is one of the star performers of the Irish economy having developed significantly since the establishment of the IFSC in 1987, through the development, promotion, sale, marketing and administration of Investment Funds sold internationally.

“We in Government look to the Industry to continue to grow as impressively as it has over recent years; to invest; to generate new jobs and wealth; to continue to play a leading part in our recovery,” he said.

Mr Kenny told more than 300 delegates from the financial industry that the country has cemented its return to the international bond markets in recent months, as well as experiencing strong annual job growth while exceeding budgetary targets and restructuring the banking sector.

“The restoration of Ireland’s investment grade status across the major credit rating agencies reflects the significant progress we have made,” he added.

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