Tuesday 10 December 2019

Harris to lead development of new plans to promote jobs in IFSC

Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris is to lead preparation of a new government strategy for the international financial services sector
Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris is to lead preparation of a new government strategy for the international financial services sector
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris is to lead preparation of a new government strategy for the international financial services sector.

Mr Harris said there needs to be a new, longer-term plan to safeguard growth and jobs in the sector.

"I intend to bring together all public sector agencies involved in the financial services sector to ensure a co-ordinated and focused approach to the financial services sector. We need an agreed plan, solid actions and responsibilities assigned to specific people or agencies for each action," he said.

The announcement comes the day after Dublin's ranking as a financial centre fell to 70th out of 83 international financial centres ranked in the Global Financial Centres index. The city was ranked 10th in March 2009.

"This is going to be the starting point of the strategy… Ireland has seen such a huge economic fall I suppose in the last decade, that we're in the process of rebuilding. I think there's been a reputational overhang there," Mr Harris told the Irish Independent.

"We need to make sure complacency hasn't set in. Yes, the financial services sector has been and is very good for this country… but other countries are doing better than us and that's the reality," he added.

"It is though important to note that the Economist Intelligence Unit only this year noted Ireland was the location of choice for domiciled funds, so different surveys are telling us different things, We can't just pick the ones we like and we can't just focus on the negative ones either," Mr Harris said.

The Fine Gael TD said that promotion of the Irish financial sector needs to be better co-ordinated.

"There's a significant number of brands in the market when it comes to selling the financial services sector. If you look at Luxembourg, there's one brand that promotes Luxembourg financial services sector," he said.

We've an awful lot of voices on the public sector side and the industry side, which I sometimes think can cloud the message.

"I think a second thing that needs to be looked at, and this is all without pre-judging the strategy, is the actual physical footprint of the IFSC. Can we expand it? Can we go down towards the Docklands? That's something that I know Nama is considering."

Irish Independent

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