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Brexit fears prompt 150 applications for Central Bank licence

Companies seeking authorisations for new products drives surge


Derville Rowland, director general of financial conduct at the Central Bank last September

Derville Rowland, director general of financial conduct at the Central Bank last September

Derville Rowland, director general of financial conduct at the Central Bank last September

More than 150 financial services firms have applied for authorisations from the Central Bank to operate in Ireland and license new products here in the wake of Brexit.

An upswing in applications in recent weeks has compelled the Central Bank to re-allocate staff to deal with the workload. The growing prospect of a hard Brexit is believed to be behind the recent surge and applications may top 175 firms by the end of the year, sources said.

It is understood the increase in authorisation applications is being driven in many cases by financial services firms that have existing licences to operate in Ireland but are seeking authorisations to expand their product offerings here. Discussions have also been held with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) about the dramatic upsurge in applications for authorisations by firms, including banks.

It is understood that many of the applications would equate to less than 10 jobs but that several applications could deliver significant job wins.

The Central Bank refuses to be drawn on the number of applications or the number of authorisations the regulator has issued to date which also holds huge sensitivities for bodies such as the IDA. However the governor of the Central Bank, Philip Lane, recently informed the Central Bank Commission that there was a significant amount of Brexit-related activity ongoing, particularly in the supervisory area.

Ed Sibley, deputy governor of Prudential Regulation, told the commission that the pipeline of applications by firms for authorisation was "very significant," requiring some reprioritisation and the reallocation of some staff.

Derville Rowland, director general of financial conduct, also stated at the commission meeting that there had been "a very large increase" in recent weeks across the Financial Conduct pillar in the levels of Brexit-related enquiries from firms considering authorisation.

Rowland, who sits on the management board of ESMA, also said that discussions were also taking place at the level of ESMA on the issue of authorisations.

Dublin lost out on luring the European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency to Irish shores and has lost several potential post-Brexit financial services gains to Frankfurt and Paris.

However the surge in authorisation applications to the Central Bank indicates that it may fare well in attracting hundreds of high-skilled, high-paid jobs here.

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