Regional Development of the Irish Financial Service Sector

Bryan Hyland 18.11.2015

Morgan McKinley had the pleasure of attending a Cork Society of Chartered Accountants forum event this week. The morning delivered an insightful discussion on its chosen topic, “The Evolution of Shared Services”.

Bob Savage from EMC opened the event and we had presentations from Shane Mohan, Deloitte, Robin Maxwell, EY, Dr. Colm Foster, IMI and Trayc Keevans, Morgan McKinley

Minister of State Simon Harris TD presented on the governments focus on the evolution of shared services in the financial services industry, which I thought I’d share as we see the continued evolution and development of IFS outside Dublin.

Earlier this year the Government launched IFS2020, a strategy focused on developing Ireland’s IFS sector. The headline target is to increase the number of people working in IFS from 35,000 to 45,000 by the end of 2019. In achieving this target, greater importance was attached to the regional development of IFS. While Dublin has historically been seen as the centre of the IFS industry in Ireland, in fact there are now a considerable number of companies operating in regional locations outside the Greater Dublin area, including here in Cork.

Approximately one third of IFS jobs, or over 12,000 people, are now employed outside the Greater Dublin area. The decision by leading global companies to invest in regional locations positions Ireland well on an international stage. Regional locations offer decided advantages relative to Dublin in terms of cost competitiveness, the availability of a skilled workforce and lower employee turnover rates.

For the IFS sector, the vision set out in IFS2020 is for Ireland to be a global location of choice for specialist international financial services, building on our talent, technology, innovation and excellent client service, while embracing the highest standards of governance.

To deliver this objective, we need to position Ireland as a leading location for specialist international financial services, including in areas like FinTech, Payments, Data Analytics and Governance, Risk and Compliance.

In other words, Ireland’s strategic objective is to place ourselves firmly at the cutting edge of financial services innovation. This focus on innovation and specialisation aligns with the strategic agenda that IFS companies themselves are heavily invested in. This innovation agenda applies across all sub-sectors of IFS, not least those in the BPO industry engaged in IFS.

Shared services companies offer IFS companies a capability to deliver efficiencies and innovations in client service. IFS2020 recognises that one of Ireland’s competitive strengths lies in the delivery of excellent client services – a fact evident by the significant presence in Ireland of many of the world’s leading multi-national IFS companies in sub-sectors like banking, funds and insurance.

These global companies are competing from Ireland by delivering excellent client services on a pan-European, or indeed a global basis.

The IFS industry is now going through what is arguably the greatest period of technology-led transformation it has ever experienced. The ability of IFS companies to meet new challenges and capitalise on new opportunities will depend on their technological innovation capabilities.

However, any IFS company pursuing a technology-focused innovation strategy must also be successful in developing new business models and business processes.

Ireland is highly regarded and rated for its educated, flexible and loyal workforce. However, if we are to remain competitive for sectors like IFS, then we cannot take this undoubted competitive strength for granted.

Ambitious plans from the minister that we all have a part in ensuring its success.

Bryan Hyland's picture
Operations Director
bhyland@morganmckinley.com

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