Monday 22 January 2018

Aviva jobs massacre may only be the start

LAST week's jobs bombshell from Aviva, which will see at least 950 staff lose their jobs, paints a picture of the likely future shape of the Irish financial-services sector -- and it's not a pretty one.

The future will increasingly be one of local Irish branches of foreign-owned institutions, with the important decisions being made elsewhere.

Aviva's Irish subsidiary is being subsumed into its British operation. When the usual guff about Ireland being one of Aviva's "12 priority markets" is stripped away, the reality is that from now on Aviva's Irish business will effectively be run as if it were just another UK region.

Welcome to the future. When the dust settles on the great Irish banking bust, it is highly unlikely that any of our banks will remain in Irish ownership.

Far more likely is that with the State desperate to be shot of the banks, both AIB and Bank of Ireland will pass into foreign ownership.

With Irish Life and New Ireland already up for sale, the remainder of the Irish life and pensions sector is also headed for foreign ownership, while the sale of a 51 per cent stake in Quinn Insurance to Liberty Mutual leaves FBD as the only Irish-owned general insurer.

The Aviva announcement marks a further stage in the 'hollowing out' of the Irish financial-services sector as back-office and support functions and jobs move offshore. As they pass into foreign ownership, other financial institutions will follow Aviva's example.

Sunday Indo Business

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