FSI launch major new campaign

Almost half of companies operating in Ireland’s financial services industry felt that the response of the sector here to COVID-19 was better than that of peers in competing jurisdictions. That’s according to a new survey published today from Financial Services Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the industry, as part of its major new campaign, ‘Ireland’s future through finance’ (see attached).

Furthermore, 84% of survey respondents feel that financial services organisations are now planning operational investments in jurisdictions where crisis resilience is high, highlighting the potential growth opportunities for the sector in Ireland against the backdrop of COVID-19.

Marking the launch, FSI Director, Paul Sweetman outlined: “This campaign provides a unique insight into how the sector can become a new source of growth for Ireland. Informed by a survey of FSI members, several recommendations are proposed that will enable Ireland to seize the economic opportunity now evident in the financial services sector.

“The COVID-19 crisis has taken a severe toll on society and the economy. While serious challenges remain, Ireland’s financial services sector has shown an exceptional ability to perform on the international stage and act as a crucial economic player in the domestic economy. The sector continues to demonstrate to global peers its resilience, innovation and competitiveness.

“As the survey findings show, this crisis-resilience presents a significant opportunity. Ireland can enhance its competitiveness as a premier location to attract financial-services focused inward investment, introducing fresh capital and providing additional high-quality employment at a time when needed. Today’s report contains a suite of recommendations for Government to best position the financial services sector to secure global market share and bolster the national economy.”

Amongst the key findings of the survey:
  • 48% felt that the response of the financial services sector here was better than that of peers in competing jurisdictions, with another 48% stating we performed equally as well.
  • 99% of companies surveyed stated that from the start of the crisis they remained operational and ‘always-on’, serving their customers and clients. This shows the remarkable resilience of the sector, underpinned by the excellent approach and support of employees, skilled crisis management planning and the implementation of effective technological solutions.
  • Following the sector’s resilient response to COVID-19, of those surveyed 82% believe Ireland will be an attractive location for financial services focused foreign-direct-investment (FDI).

Recommendations outlined in the report to accelerate growth include:
  • Establish a stakeholder engagement group between the sector, Government and CBI.
  • Accelerate and refresh the Government strategy ‘Ireland for Finance’ to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Market Ireland as a premier location for financial services careers and establish initiatives to attract high-level, strategic financial services talent.
  • Boost investment in third level education, continuing professional development (CPD), Skillnets and apprenticeship programmes to develop a pipeline of relevant and needed talent for the sector.
  • Support the rapid development of the fintech sector, reflecting the accelerated move to digital caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Establish tactical and strategic initiatives that foster technology adoption and innovation within the financial services sector, making Ireland the leading jurisdiction for technology and financial services integration. Take advantage of Ireland housing the leadership of both sectors in close proximity to one another.
  • Focus on becoming a global leader in the areas of diversity & inclusion, ESG, sustainable finance and the strategic management of outsourcing operations.
  • Enact the Investment Limited Partnerships Bill and the tax review of the European Long-Term Investment Funds Regulation, modernising outmoded legislative barriers to growth.