Hermes Investment Management has ramped up contingency plans against a hard Brexit by setting up a subsidiary in Ireland.
The move comes ahead of a crunch day in Parliament on Tuesday where MPs are set to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s contested Brexit deal.
The £36 billion wealth manager established Hermes Fund Managers Ireland as part of its contingency plans it started drawing up after the referendum in June 2016 and is based on the presumption of a hard Brexit – Britain crashing out of the European Union without any transitional arrangements.
Hermes follows other asset managers such as Legal & General, Ashmore and Barings in setting up hubs in Ireland.
Chief executive Saker Nusseibeh said: “Since the referendum in 2016, we have always planned for a ‘hard Brexit’. We recognised early on that we had to make appropriate contingency plans in the absence of certainty, in order to ensure, to the extent possible, that we remain able to manage our clients’ assets in line with their expectations of us.”
He said Hermes has a decade’s worth of investment management activities and service provider relationships in Ireland with its European mutual funds business domiciled there.
“Given this, and our European business growth, we have taken the Brexit opportunity to bolster our presence in Ireland with the establishment of a management company to lead the management of Hermes’ European product offering and facilitate distribution to European clients”.
The company said the new Irish management company, which was authorised by the central Bank of Ireland in December, is also part of its strategy to expand in Europe.
By the end of the year the company expects to hire between eight to 10 people in the Dublin office, including a head of compliance, with at least six hired by the end of March. Hermes currently employs around 470 people across the group.
Hermes has appointed Carol Mahon as head of Ireland and Aoifinn Devitt as head of investment Ireland at the new Dublin base, which is expected to become operational by March 29, the date Britain is expected to leave the EU.
Ms Mahon joins Hermes from a 17-year career at Fidelity International, where she was most recently chief of the Fidelity’s Irish life insurance business.
She will be responsible for developing the Irish base and any branches in the European Economic Area.
While Ms Devitt will be responsible for the development of the investment management side of the Irish business. She was previously chief investment officer of the Chicago Policemen’s Annuity & Benefit Fund, a 2.6 billion US-dollar (£2 billion) American public fund.