Citigroup to create 500 jobs in Belfast
More than 500 new financial services jobs are being created in the North, it was announced today.
The investment by international banking group Citi will see a major expansion of its current operation in Belfast.
The boost has been backed by a £8.4m (€9.5m) grant from Government business support body Invest NI.
The announcement by US-based Citi comes weeks after political leaders in the North attended a conference in Washington hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aimed at attracting stateside business to invest in the region.
The First and Deputy First Minister welcomed the 501 new jobs as they officially opened Citi's new offices in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.
Citi, one of the world's largest banking corporations, has been in the city since 2004 and currently employs 900 staff.
The workforce service the legal, operational and technology needs of Citi offices and clients around the world, but primarily in the Europe, Middle East and Africa market.
First Minister Peter Robinson said the move would generate £16m of new annual salaries into the local economy.
"Last month, at the US-NI economic conference in Washington, we had a unique opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland to some of the most senior people from blue chip US companies," he said.
"While we are confident that new investment will be generated as a result of the conference in the months and years to come, this latest commitment by Citi is proof positive that our ongoing efforts to secure investment are paying dividends.
"Over £8m of Invest NI support has secured this expansion against competition from other global locations. This support will help to inject upwards of £16m of new annual salaries into the local economy, providing the quality, world class employment opportunities that local people so richly deserve."
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: "At a time when global businesses are still trying to manage their way out of the downturn, Citi has recognised that this region offers the skills, infrastructure and support necessary to develop its presence here and support growth in key global markets.
"Over the next five years, Citi plans to create 440 new high quality roles in its technology and operations divisions and a further 61 new specialist posts in its legal and compliance division. This is an extremely significant boost for the local economy, particularly in terms of job numbers and the high quality of the positions."
Bill Mills from Citi said the North had proved itself a great place to set up.
"As a global company with a presence in more than 120 countries, we continually evaluate the best locations for expansion to ensure maximum productivity and growth," he said.
"Northern Ireland has repeatedly exceeded our expectations since our initial investment in 2004."
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster added: "Citi is one of the most prestigious financial services companies in the world, so this major investment, one of the largest in recent months, is a real endorsement of the NI investment proposition.
"I hope that following this announcement and the economic conference in Washington that other investors are encouraged to look more closely at Northern Ireland as an investment location."