Sunday 23 July 2017

Ireland still in running for Brexit business

Ireland has been pitching for a slice of the UK capital's lucrative euro-denominated trading business
Ireland has been pitching for a slice of the UK capital's lucrative euro-denominated trading business

Gretchen Friemann

Large-scale asset managers and investment firms are racing to complete Brexit preparations by mid-summer, raising hopes Ireland will prove the main beneficiary of the sector's expansion out of London.

Ireland has been pitching for a slice of the UK capital's lucrative euro-denominated trading business but faces stiff competition from rival financial services centres on the Continent, such as Luxembourg, Brussels, Paris and Frankfurt.

According to Kieran Fox at the Irish Funds Industry Association, a slew of announcements are likely by the end of July, as asset managers race to conclude contingency plans for the UK's exit from the EU.

While Mr Fox declined to speculate on what firms are considering opening a new office in Ireland, he argued that the city remains a favoured location, partly due to the "substantial back-office infrastructure" which has turned Ireland in to Europe's second-largest fund domicile.

He pointed out that Legg Mason's decision to establish a management company in the Dublin underscores its reputation as a top asset-management hub within the single-currency bloc.

Last month, the US investment heavyweight unveiled plans to open an office in Dublin in an effort to guarantee access to Europe in the wake of Brexit. Mr Fox claimed more firms are likely to follow in its path as the sector lays down contingency plans in the face of the uncertainties about the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

He pointed out asset managers work to long-term strategy targets and need to finalise preparations by the end of July to ensure a smooth transition following the UK's exit from the EU in March 2019.

Yet he acknowledged there was a danger that one city may establish a dominance over another once a clustering effect materialises.

While Dublin is hoping its substantial funds management industry will help trounce rival cities - the level of funds under administration in the state hit €4.1 trillion at the end of last year - the city has also lost some crucial battles, with a several blue-chip names giving the city the cold shoulder.

UK asset manager M&G Investments numbers among the companies that have so far spurned Ireland.

In March, M&G Investments announced it would open a new management company in Luxembourg rather than Dublin, as had been speculated.

But Mr Fox argued Ireland stands to benefit from Brexit, despite its "hugely disruptive" impact on the financial services sector.

He pointed out the full effects of the UK's departure will take many years to materialise.

Irish Independent

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