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Posted: 07 March 2008

Experts gather in Dublin to discuss future of Irish Financial Services Sector at seminar hosted by UCD’s Smurfit and Quinn Business Schools

International COO and Senior Vice President of Merrill Lynch, John Sievwright said “The financial service industry needs to be insecure about its success. It needs to worry about waking up and finding it’s gone as this industry is incredibly mobile.”  Sievwright was addressing a seminar ‘IFSC 2.0 – The Next Phase’ hosted by UCD’s Smurfit and Quinn Business Schools.

Sievwright predicted that highly educated and skilled people along with attractive regulation are key to the future of Ireland’s financial services sector.

Other speakers at the seminar included Brian Ruane, Executive Vice president of the Bank of New York Mellon, Patrick Neary, Chief Executive, Financial Regulator, Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive, IDA,  Dermot Mc Carthy, Secretary General, Department of the Taoiseach and Sean Fitzpatrick, Chairman, Anglo Irish Bank.

Keynote speaker Sievwright was discussing his perspectives on global financial markets and the implications for Ireland. Sievwright outlined the outstanding performance of the financial service sector in Ireland:
“In 2006, Ireland accounted for 2.45% of world services exports – about twice the share it held in 2000. It signals a transformation of Irish export performance and crucially, financial services are at the heart of this. It already accounts for over one third of all Irish services exports.”

In light of Dublin’s position in the recently published City of London Global Financial Centres Index report (GFCI), Sievwright emphasised the importance of the availability of skilled, highly qualified workforce in the financial services sector:
“Dublin has moved nine places on this index to thirteenth on the global list of financial centre ratings. Dublin now leads Paris - a feat beyond anyone’s wildest imagination back in 1987.”

“How can Dublin attract the young upcoming talent that currently chooses to live in London, New York and Hong Kong? These are the thought leaders and IT wizards that will help to shape your service offerings in the future.”

“Quite clearly Ireland needs to rethink its value proposition. Dublin should increasingly look to position itself as a bridge between the EU to Asia. ”

“If opportunities are carefully identified and properly harnessed, The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) will inject even more momentum towards Dublin’s offering within European financial centres.”

 “Merrill Lynch International Bank, headquartered in Dublin, has a significant branch network extending from Canada to Korea, employing 2,600 people overall. It is Merrill Lynch’s most important international bank. The relevance of the Irish Bank to Merrill Lynch is not just about a Dublin proposition, but an international proposition based out of Dublin. This is key.”

“Dublin and Ireland must be competitive against other European centers so that it continues to be seen as an attractive gateway to the EU markets. In the broader global context, Ireland needs the EU to be competitive so that Dublin can leverage its leadership position in connectivity to the US and Asia. A most important factor to future success will be the ability to attract intellectual capital.”

John Travers, Former Forfás Chief and current Executive Director of the Global Finance Academy at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School who chaired the seminar commented: ‘The Irish Financial Services Sector can be regarded as a great success over the past 20 years. The sector is now developing into a second phase of activity and we felt it was imperative that a platform was in place for leaders from all sides of the economy including banking, academia, regulatory and government to come together and give their perspectives on the past 20 years as well as their outlook for the future.”
Travers was optimistic in his outlook for the next phase of the financial services sector in Ireland, commenting that: “We now have a base of activities, more knowledgeable resources and, crucially, it has been demonstrated that a financial services sector can operate and thrive in Ireland’.

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Experts gather in Dublin to discuss future of Irish Financial Services Sector at seminar hosted by UCD’s Smurfit and Quinn Business Schools.