Tánaiste speech at the Irish Funds Conference, New York
Speech16 March 2023
Thank you Eoin,
I’m delighted to be back in the US and to welcome you to this event and I’d like to thank Eoin, Pat and Irish Funds for convening this seminar in New York – the pre-eminent global financial centre.
As well as being the economic capital of the US, New York is a hub for Saint Patrick’s Day activity across America and this city is also at the heart of the Ireland-US trade and investment relationship.
That trade and investment relationship is stronger than ever, and financial services is a key part of it, with Ireland’s international financial services industry broader and more diverse now than at any time.
Ireland for Finance
Ireland has a well-developed ecosystem of firms in international financial services, which has grown to employ around 56,000 people across more than 500 firms.
That follows nearly 40 years of commitment by successive governments to develop an international financial services centre.
We have been able to develop that strong ecosystem because Ireland offers many benefits to firms in the international financial services sector considering setting up in Europe.
International fund promoters are attracted to Ireland due to its open, transparent and well-regulated investment environment, our strong emphasis on investor protection, and our innovative business culture.
We are also an English-speaking, common law jurisdiction, and a committed member of the European Union.
That means we have unfettered access to the EU Single Market of almost four hundred and fifty million people.
Not only do we have access to EU talent but we also have access to UK talent because Ireland retains a Common Travel Area with the United Kingdom.
In addition, our pro-business environment is underpinned by a strong and fully independent financial services regulator.
Ireland for Finance
The Government’s policy to develop the international financial services sector, called Ireland for Finance, is a whole-of-Government strategy, which is delivered through active partnership with industry.
The strategy is delivered through public–private partnership, with both the international financial services sector and state bodies proposing actions for implementation which have a nationwide impact- and I’m glad to see Karen Conboy and Cathal McSweeney of the Cork Financial Services Forum here today.
I commend the Cork Forum for their work supporting international financial services companies and professional services organisations in their region.
I know that you will hear from a panel of experts on exchange-traded funds shortly, and I wanted to touch on Ireland’s position as a global centre of excellence for fund servicing and asset management.
The Irish Stock Exchange is part of the Euronext group, which is made up of stock exchanges from seven European Union countries.
Euronext Dublin is the group’s centre of excellence for debt and funds listings, and Ireland is a now a leading European domicile for exchange traded funds, representing approximately 67 per cent of the total European ETF market.
Many of the largest global ETF promoters, such as BlackRock, Invesco, Amundi and Vanguard domicile their European products in Ireland.
Distribution and access to professional investors via the passporting of products and services within the EU, combined with wider international use of Irish fund structures, is also resulting in an increase of specialist asset managers in Ireland.
This includes a cluster of alternative credit managers and a number of asset managers focused on sustainable investment.
Ireland has developed a significant fund and asset management industry over the last number of decades - building a truly international sector that serves as a gateway to connect international investors with global investment expertise via services provided in Ireland.
The industry now provides direct employment to over 17,000 people nationwide across 180 companies - and I want to thank those in the room for your support of this important sector of the Irish economy.
Ireland will remain a welcoming and attractive location for talent from abroad, as well as further improving our own offering on talent development – to ensure we have the skills and future workforce to meet the opportunities ahead.
With world leading product expertise in areas like Exchange Traded Funds and the ability to reach investors globally from Ireland, I am confident of our ability to provide successful outcomes for the investors you serve, for your firms, and for our own economy. Providing a world-class service to international asset managers across the globe, including those in New York, is something we are proud to do, and to do well.