Irish Funds, the representative body for the cross-border investment funds industry in Ireland, kicked off its annual funds conference on Thursday, celebrating 25 years of the Association.
Having already put Ireland on the map as a global centre of excellence for funds, the conference’s programme was designed to look at the opportunities which the industry should be embracing in the next 25 years. Hundreds of global CEOs and industry executives are being joined in Dublin today by European policy makers and regulators to explore and debate the key issues of the industry.
This year’s conference was opened by the Chairman of the Association, Alan O’Sullivan. Over 30 speakers and panelists are due to address topics such as key trends in fund distribution, developments in private equity, the growing significance of FinTech in the industry and geo-political events, including the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union.
Also speaking at the conference, the Irish Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, highlighted the Irish government’s firm commitment to the funds industry.
In his keynote address, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, said: “I would like to acknowledge the success of the Irish Funds sector. We now have some 6,000 funds domiciled here, managing close to €2 trillion of assets. This supports thousands of jobs directly and many more indirectly.” He added, “Our aim is to provide a welcoming business environment, a responsive regulatory environment and to support your industry in meeting your business objectives.”
As regards to the future, he noted: “Looking ahead, the Department of Finance, with support from Irish Funds, is currently developing proposals for amendments to the Investment Limited Partnership legislation – a priority as outlined in IFS2020.”
Addressing the conference Pat Lardner, Chief Executive of Irish Funds, said: “Ireland remains one of the globe’s most open economies – our understanding of the world around us and how we fit into in is even more important today than it was a quarter of a century ago when the industry was in its formative stages. We fully support the Government’s IFS2020 strategy and associated objectives to create further employment around the country. Ensuring that these policy aims are aligned with all aspects of the environment we have here is our key focus which also ensures the success of our clients and member firms.”
As of Q1 2016, the total assets administered in Ireland amounted to EUR3,663 billion with an equal split between funds domiciled here and those serviced from Ireland. Ireland represents a home for 17.5 per cent of all UCITS assets, making it the 2nd largest domicile for UCITS funds, as well as being a leading player for alternative investment funds.
The success of Ireland as a fund domicile and servicing centre is reflected in its long-standing contribution to growth in Irish employment both directly within the industry and also in technology and a wide range of business services. Currently, there are approximately 14,500 people employed in the funds industry across Ireland.
The conference programme also highlights FinTech in Ireland and its ability to foster innovation by combining its unique ecosystem, nimble approach and long-standing, deep-rooted funds expertise with a range and diversity of technology capabilities. While Ireland’s funds industry focuses on evolving to address challenges and to take advantage of opportunities, it is able to build on its strength as the leading funds jurisdiction for the administration of funds, especially in the area of alternative funds, where 40% of global alternative funds are serviced out of Ireland.