Friday 30 September 2016

Tech company wants to invest here thanks to 'yes' vote

Published 31/01/2016 | 02:30

Speaking in Dublin this week, Uphold chief executive Anthony Watson, who is gay, said Ireland’s May 2015 vote in favour of marriage equality made the country more attractive for his company. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Speaking in Dublin this week, Uphold chief executive Anthony Watson, who is gay, said Ireland’s May 2015 vote in favour of marriage equality made the country more attractive for his company. Photo: Gerry Mooney

A fast-growing US financial technology company wants to open an Irish office because of the country's 'yes' vote in the Marriage Equality Referendum.

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Speaking in Dublin this week, Uphold chief executive Anthony Watson, who is gay, said Ireland's May 2015 vote in favour of marriage equality made the country more attractive for his company. Uphold is deliberately looking to invest in Ireland as a result of the marriage equality referendum, he said.

This is partly because it has made Ireland a more appealing place to work for technology professionals, he added.

"Liberal markets attract the best talent," he said. Trinity College Dublin graduate Watson was formerly Nike's chief investment officer.

His company Uphold, formerly Bitserve, provides foreign exchange services for free. It lets users upload cash from traditional bank accounts and credit cards across 33 countries, including Ireland, the US and China.

Watson believes financial technology ('fintech') start-ups are having a deeply disruptive impact on the banking industry. Half of those working in traditional banking jobs could lose their jobs in as little as five years, he predicted, given the competition posed by new more agile companies who are finding cheaper ways to deliver services core to many retail banks like lending cash and transferring money abroad.

But there is a silver lining; industry experts believe 5,000 jobs could be created in Ireland's burgeoning fintech sector, a figure that would represent a doubling of jobs in the industry.

Sunday Indo Business

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