Niall O'Callaghan, IDA Ireland, who addressed the Capital Limerick event in Dublin
THE potential to further grow the financial services sector in Limerick was explored by a panel of experts in Dublin this Thursday night.
The Banking Hall of the Westin Hotel at Westmoreland Street in Dublin city centre was the venue for a sold-out event organised by Capital Limerick, a group of high-profile figures flying the Treaty flag.
Speakers at the event included Eamonn Fallon, senior vice-president, who supporting fund administration services, at Northern Trust, in Ireland, Kemmy Business School economist Dr Stephen Kinsella, Niall O’Callaghan, business & relationship manager with IDA Ireland for the Mid West Region, Kevin Thompson, Chief Executive of Insurance Ireland and Andrea Linehan, who sits on the board of the Small Firms Association and works with Grid Finance.
Mr O’Callaghan said: “Financial Services in the Mid-West Region, with Limerick at its core, is flourishing. Building on the tradition of Aircraft Leasing, and with the continued growth of Northern Trust, we have seen the evolution of FinTech and eCommerce by companies such as Digital River, ACI Worldwide, and most recently First Data”.
He said the Mid-West was now a viable, competitive regional location for international operations “with access to a large talent pool, international connectivity and an unrivalled work-life balance”.
Mr Thompson added Limerick is well positioned to attract financial services firms, and meet the talent needs of the sector
He said the city has a “pro-business environment, appropriate talent, good infrastructure and connectivity, supported by a strong city brand.”
However, he said the need to remind the industry of the Mid-West region’s roots in aircraft leasing cannot be underestimated in terms of bringing in future jobs and investment.
The importance of small firms in the financial services sector was also discussed at the event.
Ms Linehan said: “SMEs in financial services are largely unknown but play an important part in the financial services eco-system and in job creation in the sector”.
Dr Kinsella outlined how he thinks Ireland should compete for post-Brexit and other foreign direct investment but that “Ireland, with a small open economy, should be mindful not to over-rely on foreign investment and not to turn its back on small to medium indigenous financial services”.
“Overall the general outlook for Limerick and the Mid West region was good “Brexit is a major challenge to the Mid West, but a large pool of talent, and an investment in infrastructure will change the city by 2025", he added.
The proceedings were chaired by Donal O’Donovan, business editor of the Irish Independent, and the event was attend by about 150 people.
Clair Hayes, associate solicitor at Matheson and founder of Capital Limerick added the group wants everyone to play their part in optimising the potential for the city and the wider Mid West region and “where we are in a position to do so, create greater awareness of the competitive offering that Limerick and the Mid-West region has in this sector”.
The event was sponsored by Northern Trust, Matheson and the Elder Healthcare Group.