Bruton will fly the flag for IFSC on trip to Gulf states and Hong Kong
NEWLY-installed "IFSC tsar" John Bruton will kick off his new role with a whistlestop tour of Hong Kong and the Persian Gulf to drum up business for Ireland's financial centre, the Irish Independent has learned.
The former Taoiseach was due to be formally unveiled as head of the "IFSC Ireland" in early September, but the launch has been deferred until October so Mr Bruton could first get his teeth into the role.
Sources last night confirmed that Mr Bruton will travel to Hong Kong "before the end of September", targeting investment from the funds management industry in particular. "He has been meeting with various parties central to the funds industry in Ireland and they've told him Hong Kong is the place to go," said one source.
The latest data shows that Hong Kong's fund management business controlled $8,507bn (€6,538bn) at the end of 2009, up more than 45pc on 2008's tally as the industry stages a strong rebound.
Senior funds management executives from Ireland are expected to accompany Mr Bruton on his tour.
Mr Bruton has also agreed to go on an IDA-led trip to the Gulf region next month, where he will focus on attracting investment from the general banking and financial services sectors.
Sources said Mr Bruton is likely to visit Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Qatar as part of the Gulf tour that several Irish financial services firms will also take part in.
The former politician's hectic travelling schedule means the formal launch of IFSC Ireland has been pushed out until next month, when Mr Bruton will be able to share his overseas experiences.
"Over the summer he's gotten extensive briefings from industry and from the IDA, but he really wanted to have done something before the full launch (of IFSC Ireland)," one source said last night.
Mr Bruton's mandate will be to re-brand Ireland's financial hub and win new business, aided by an industry steering committee which has not yet been appointed.
The IFSC has managed to maintain employment levels at about 25,000 despite the global financial crisis, but concerns about the reputational impact of Ireland's banking collapse has triggered fears for its future.