Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath, has said the government needs to build on the growth achieved in 2018 in the financial services industry and make greater efforts to spread new financial services investment across the region in 2019.

Deputy McGrath was speaking following receipt of information from the Central Bank confirming it granted 20% more approvals for funds in the eleven months to the end of November 2018 compared with all of 2017. The 998 approvals to the end of November 2018 is an increase of 30% from the number issued for all of 2016.

Deputy McGrath commented, “The uncertainty arising from Brexit has undoubtedly led to an increase in investments being made in Ireland by a wide range of financial services firms. In particular, Ireland’s funds industry – already well established before Brexit – has witnessed a spike in enquiries and applications to the Central Bank and this has resulted in almost 1,000 approvals to the end of November.

“The funds industry alone employs over 16,000 people in Ireland. As a domicile for investment funds assets, Ireland is already the second largest in Europe and the third largest in the world. Given that Ireland is now regarded as a major player in the asset management and fund administration space, there is an onus on the government to capitalise on the current opportunity to further strengthen Ireland’s position as a world leader in this area.

“With work ongoing on the new five year strategy for the development of Ireland’s international financial services sector (IFS2025), there needs to be a particular focus on securing more investment in the regions. They have a very competitive offering and the government needs to redouble its efforts to build on the regional financial services clusters that already exist across the country.

“The continued investment in the financial services industry again underlines the need for greater urgency in tackling the housing crisis, as the lack of affordable accommodation is now a key constraint for Ireland when competing with other jurisdictions for international investment.

“Finally, 2019 must be the year the government finally delivers on the long promised Investment Limited Partnership legislation. There is a great deal of frustration across the financial services industry at the failure to bring forward this legislation which is hampering Ireland’s ability to fully exploit the opportunities that currently exist,” concluded Deputy McGrath.