Wednesday 26 April 2017

Bruton gets six-figure fee as new IFSC 'tsar'

Joe Brennan

FORMER Taoiseach John Bruton will be paid a six-figure annual sum for his new part-time role of International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) 'tsar', as the hub seeks to rebrand itself and win new business.

Mr Bruton, who is also in receipt of two political pensions paid for by the taxpayer worth about €150,000 a year, returned to Ireland in January following five years as EU ambassador to Washington.

His fee for the job will be fully funded by industry bodies, who had been lobbying for over a year for the appointment of a 'tsar' to oversee an overhaul of the centre, which employs 25,000 people.

Mr Bruton will chair the new body of IFSC Ireland, created to promote Dublin's financial hub, which will be formally launched in September.

Mr Bruton is currently in receipt of a ministerial pension, from his time as Taoiseach and cabinet minister, worth just over €100,027 and an Oireachtas pension worth approximately €52,000. As a former Taoiseach, Mr Bruton is also entitled to a state car and driver for life. Mr Bruton will also qualify for a pension from his period as EU ambassador to Washington.

IDA Ireland, which is responsible for inward investment, has been concerned for some time that the IFSC only has a very small window to win new business, as global financial groups restructure after the financial crisis.

Mr Bruton said: "Bringing jobs to Ireland will be my over-riding priority in this new role, on behalf of the organisations that have come together to establish IFSC Ireland."

The IFSC has surprised many observers by maintaining employment levels at about 25,000 throughout the crisis. But there is concern about how the centre has dropped in a major global index of financial hubs over the past year -- from 10th place to 23rd place.

Contacts

Mr Bruton has a ready network of contacts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Alastair Blair, head of financial services with consultants Accenture, said Mr Bruton's immediate task was to address reputational issues stemming from the domestic financial crisis. "The IFSC is a hugely important -- and probably underestimated -- element of the Irish economy," Mr Blair said.

Welcoming the development, Barry O'Leary, chief executive of IDA Ireland, said: "We believe there are significant investment opportunities for Ireland to win across a broad range of activities within the industry. These will generate highly-skilled employment thereby assisting our economic growth and recovery."

Irish Independent

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