Tuesday 20 March 2018

Japanese firms show interest in Irish relocation after Brexit vote

IDA boss Martin Shanahan
IDA boss Martin Shanahan
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Japanese financial services firms have expressed "a lot of interest" in Ireland in the wake of the Brexit vote, the head of the IDA has said.

The agency tasked with attracting foreign investment to Ireland is engaging directly with Japanese investors in both London and Tokyo to encourage them to locate operations here.

Japan has warned Britain that its European Union exit could prompt Japanese financial institutions to relocate operations from London, and has already listed a raft of concerns from Japanese companies about the transition away from the European Union.

IDA CEO Martin Shanahan told the Irish Independent that a number of Japanese financial firms with operations in London were looking at Ireland with interest.

"We've had a lot of interest from Japanese financial services companies," he said.

"In all cases, they would have a base in the UK."

The 'Financial Times' reported last month that Japanese financial institutions had told the British government that they would begin moving some of their functions away from London within six months, unless they got clarity on the United Kingdom's future relationship with the EU. Executives at investment banks Nomura and Daiwa Capital Markets reportedly laid out their positions.

It is understood that Nomura, which employs former Department of Finance boss John Moran as a consultant, is in the process of assessing how it will use its existing EU operations.

However, it does not currently have a base of operations in Ireland and declined to say whether it was looking at Dublin as a potential location.

Japanese firms already have a presence in Ireland, including Dublin-based aircraft lessor SMBC Aviation Capital, which is owned by a consortium of Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing, and Sumitomo Corporation.

A spokesman for the IDA said that the agency was "actively looking at opportunities for additional Japanese banks to locate here".

"IDA Ireland is engaging directly with Japanese investors in both London and Tokyo," he said.

"We value Japanese investment hugely and would consider Ireland an excellent fit for many of the Japanese institutions looking to locate or relocate their businesses in Europe.

"We are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations with Japan this year, and we look forward to continuing to sell the many benefits of doing business here in Ireland."

Last week, the IDA reiterated that it had experienced a "significant volume of specific queries" to IDA offices from across the world - the US, Europe and Asia - as a result of the Brexit vote, which was held on June 23.

Mr Shanahan said the queries were not exclusively from financial services, but also from technology and pharmaceutical companies.

He said a lot of the queries were progressing to site visits with decisions by companies expected by June. The Irish Independent could not establish if they included the Japanese firms.

Irish Independent

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