Business Irish

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Top 20: Irish stars earn their stripes in US world of finance

Irish-born executives now represent some of the top firms in the US, writes Sean Dunne

Born On The Fourth of July: Many young Irish can be found at the top echelons of US finance
Born On The Fourth of July: Many young Irish can be found at the top echelons of US finance
Orla Nallen
Suzanne Curran
Thomas Colm Kelleher
Joe Connolly
Ronan Ryan

Sean Dunne

AS America approaches the annual celebration of Independence Day, we examine the Irish emigrants to the US who have made their impact on their adopted homeland.

From cigar-chomping executives on Wall Street, to the Irishman behind one of the biggest takedowns Wall Street has ever seen, the list has the best and brightest Irish leaders.

The Top 20 Irish financiers are Ireland's best business exports, and the list recognises the outstanding accomplishments and success of the best and brightest Irish-born business leaders representing some of the most innovative and influential companies and corporations in the world.

1. Joe Connolly

Bank of Ireland

Born and raised in Dublin, Joe has worked for the Bank of Ireland for 35 years, holding a number of senior treasury management positions in Dublin before relocating to the US with his family in 2003.

Connolly is executive vice president and head of business development for Bank of Ireland's US branch. In this role he and his team are responsible for identifying and establishing relationships with the many US multinationals operating in Ireland.

2. Thomas Colm Kelleher

Morgan Stanley

Infamously known as a cigar-chomping Wall Street rainmaker, Thomas Colm Kelleher is president of institut- ional securities and chief executive officer at Morgan Stanley International.

Kelleher made a staggering $8m at Morgan Stanley as the executive VP – once famously conducting a business meeting while lying on his back due to a sports injury.

He's had a stellar career. Before joining Morgan Stanley, he served four years at Arthur Anderson in London, where he qualified as a chartered accountant in 1983. Mr Kelleher graduated from Oxford University.

3. Ronan Ryan

Royal Bank of Canada

Ronan Ryan moved to the US with his parents in 1990 aged 16. He was at the centre of Wall Street's dramatic scandal in 2014 which saw the takedown of high frequency traders who rigged the system to make massive profits.

Ryan was hired as he was seen to be technologically gifted and was one of the first hires on the team to break down the process of high-frequency trading.

Acclaimed writer Michael Lewis described Ryan as "having the uneasy caution of a man who survived one potato famine and is expecting another" in his new book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.

4. Orla Nallen

BNY Mellon Assets

Orla is a senior salesperson for BNY Mellon's hedge fund administration business. She has spent her career at BNY Mellon focused on broker-dealers and alternative investment funds.

Originally from Co Tipperary, Nallen joined BNY while completing her MBA at Northeastern University, Boston.

Prior to her current role, Orla was head of the company's Hedge Fund Corporate Banking Group. Orla built and managed the team that is responsible for the credit and client management for hedge fund clients.

5. Denis Kelleher

Wall Street Access

Immigrating in the early 1950s was a decision Kelleher made following his father's death. The young Kerryman found himself working at Merrill Lynch in New York.

Kelleher is the founder and chairman of Wall Street Access, which combines an independent, entrepreneurial culture with a powerful platform to build and operate a diverse set of successful financial services businesses.

6. Tony Dalton

BOA Merrill Lynch

Born in Dublin, this banker is a former member of the Irish Junior Olympic basketball team, before trading the basketball court for the banking sector. He joined Bank of America in 2000 to build the FX prime brokerage business. He initially led the firm's prime brokerage structuring activities. Later he became responsible for global FX prime brokerage sales, and in 2010 was named global head of the foreign exchange prime brokerage business.

7. John S Daly

Goldman Sachs

John is co-head of the Industrial and Natural Resources (INR) Financing Group and head of the INR sector in Equity Capital Markets in New York. He returned to New York in his current role in 2003 after three years in Hong Kong as co-head of Capital Markets, Asia Ex-Japan.

He is a member of the Trinity College Dublin Foundation Board, the Trinity School of Business Advisory Board and the Financial Services Advisory Board of Enterprise Ireland. He is an alumnus of Trinity college.

8. Martin Kehoe


Kehoe, who is originally from Co Wexford and was educated at Trinity College Dublin, has over 25 years of experience in the financial sector.

After graduating he moved to PwC in New York, where he qualified as a certified public accountant and became a partner with the firm in 1996.

The Wexford man has become an influential member of the Irish American community in New York.

9. Suzanne Curran

Aquino Outsourcing /UBS

Suzanne was born in Belfast and holds a BA in marketing from Portobello College, Dublin.

She is currently executive director at UBS in the supply and demand management global outsourcing and offshoring group, which is responsible for establishing and executing the bank's sourcing strategy.

Highly regarded as an expert in her field, she is a frequent guest speaker at many industry conferences. Suzanne is an active member of the UBS All Bar None Women's Network,

10. Michael Brewster

Credit Suisse Private USA

Now in his 46th year, this Longford man was once a former managing director at the now defunct New York investment Lehman Brothers before being one of the lucky ones to find work elsewhere.

He joined Credit Suisse Private Banking USA as a managing director in 2008.

His career spanning 21 years of managing investments for high net worth and institutional clients has let him become one of the Irish success stories on Wall St.

The Irishman graduated from Athlone Institute of Technology with a higher diploma in management finance.

11. Paul Jennings

Silicon Bank

Born in Warrenpoint, Co. Down, Paul is a graduate of the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, and maintains an active involvement in the New England alumni group.

Jennings leads the SVB FX and Interest Rate Management team with particular focus on sales and advisory strategy.

He is responsible for foreign exchange market advisory sales to the bank's private equity and venture capital clients.

Prior to SVB, Paul worked with Anglo Irish Bank in Boston where he established and led the Private Equity Treasury Group.

12. Adrian Jones

Goldman Sachs

Adrian joined Goldman Sachs in 1994 as an associate in the investment banking division.

He has been a MD in the principal investment area of its merchant banking division since 2002, where he co-heads the American Equity business.

Originally from Co Roscommon, he was a cadet at the Irish Military College, and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Irish Army in 1983.

He emigrated to the US in 1989.

13. Carol Andrews

BNY Mellon AIS

Carol is the managing director and head of service delivery for BNY Mellon's alternative investment services business, a leading provider of hedge fund, private equity, fund administration and prime custody services.

Carol launched her financial services career at Mutual Assurance Company in Ireland, where she was first responsible for the establishment of the Dublin office, then led the implementation of services in MAC's Guernsey, Channel Islands, office.

14. Mark Kelly

Teewinot Capital Advisors

A graduate of NUI Maynooth, Dubliner Mark Kelly is chief financial officer & chief compliance officer at Teewinot Capital Advisors. He joined the company in May 2008 as chief financial officer and was placed in charge of all financial and regulatory oversight.

15. Rob MacGoey


Rob emigrated to the US 10 years ago and serves as the chairman of the American Ireland Fund's New York Steering Committee. He is also a partner in PwC's banking and capital practice. He is an aluminus of Waterford Institute of Technology and the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

16. Conor Murphy


Conor hails from Co Donegal. He works as a senior vice president and CFO of MetLife's Latin American Operations. He was concurrently named CFO of MetLife's US Sponsored direct marketing division. He previously spent seven years with PwC in New York after five years with Grant Thornton in Dublin.

17. Anita Sands


Anita began her banking career in 2004, handling derivatives analysis at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canada's fifth largest general bank, in Toronto, and later worked in treasury research.

In 2011, she was nominated as one of the "Top Forty Under Forty" and one of the "Women of Influence" in the Irish American Community.

She is originally from Louth.

18.Tara A McCabe

Permal Group

Tara joined Permal Group in September 2013 as senior vice president of product development and marketing. Prior to joining Permal, Tara was with Morgan Stanley for 15 years, most recently as an executive director in alternative investments.

19. Kerian Claffey


Kerian is a partner at Pricewaterhouse-Coopers. After joining the firm in 1985, he spent over 10 years in the assurance practice before transferring to the national office to focus on litigation and regulatory related issues.

He represents PwC on the Technical Standards Committee of the American Institute of CPAs. The Dubliner was educated at UCD and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.

20. Mark Gallagher

Silicon Valley Bank

Mark is the managing director at Silicon Valley Bank in Boston, serving as the bank's senior sales and business development professional in the Northeast of America. The Dubliner, who graduated from TCD and UCD, has over 14 years experience in the financial field.

He was the winner of the Silicon Valley Bank President's Club for two consecutive years in 2009 and 2011.

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