Tuesday 21 November 2017

Legal & General selects Ireland as EU hub for investments arm

Dublin has long been tipped as a potential contender for Brexit spoils from the City of London. Photo: iStock
Dublin has long been tipped as a potential contender for Brexit spoils from the City of London. Photo: iStock

Gretchen Friemann and Colm Kelpie

UK insurance giant Legal & General has selected Dublin as the new European hub for its investment management arm, providing a boost to the campaign to lure high-profile companies in the wake of Brexit.

There are strong indications more units of the giant firm could follow.

A spokesman for Legal & General's Investment Management arm - LGIM - yesterday confirmed the decision to the Irish Independent.

The move remains subject to regulatory approval, he said, stressing that the relocation would "have no foreseeable impact on operations and staff in other LGIM locations".

The total number of new jobs may be fewer than 50, but the move represents a significant win for the Government given L&G's status as a household name within the industry.

The investment manager is Europe's largest with more than €1 trillion in assets. It is known to be seeking a full EU base for after Brexit.

Legal & General is principally known for its insurance business. The company declined to comment on whether L&G has also selected Ireland as the group's post-Brexit EU hub, but sources think that is now likely.

Legal & General's director of group finance, Garvan O'Neill, was in Dublin yesterday addressing the European Insurance Forum in Croke Park.

He notably praised the clarity of Ireland's financial supervisory environment and said that creating a new EU subsidiary "is not something we take on lightly...given the incremental regulation that sits around an entity.

"When we make a decision as to location, and effectively we have made a decision... that is the location. And that is from where we will launch all European activities."

Mr O'Neill was speaking on a panel alongside Kieran Donoghue, head of International Financial Services, IDA, who was challenged over the relative dearth of blue chip names committing to Ireland.

Dublin has long been tipped as a potential contender for Brexit spoils from the City of London.

Financial Services Minister Eoghan Murphy met with Mark Zinkula, the chief executive of LGIM, in London in March, according to the lobbying register, which tracks meetings with senior officials.

The meeting was held at LGIM's request to discuss financial services in Ireland and the impact of Brexit.

Meanwhile, John Cronin, the Brexit lead at law firm McCann FitzGerald, said the Central Bank here is among the most experienced in Europe when it comes to cross-border regulation and supervision.

In a Brexit document published by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), he wrote that the advantages of Ireland for financial services activities are well known.

"Given the level of cross-border activity originating from Ireland, it also has considerable experience in cross-border regulation and supervision - indeed, it is among the most experienced regulators in Europe in this regard.

"That experience is likely to be of vital significance for any firm looking for a home from which to exercise passporting rights post-Brexit."

In the same document, John FitzGerald, Trinity College professor and former head of the ESRI, said Brexit-related losses to Irish output could amount to as high as almost 4pc.

However, he cited ESRI research that suggested FDI wins could offset that, by potentially adding 3pc to GDP over the long term, if international investment that leaves the UK ends up here.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business