Ireland has a mountain of debt to repay - a whopping €85bn - and a mountain to climb in terms of restoring its reputation with international partners. Yet, Dublin insists it can beat off all competition.
Taking on the competition
The IFIA knows it has to get out into the world demonstrating to fund managers and investors how its regulatory regime, and the industry’s compliance with that, offers a centre that is as safe and secure as it is professional and profitable.
Luxembourg has long been the yardstick jurisdiction but new centres on the block, Malta for example, mean the IFIA has no room for complacency on past record of performance. Fox says Ireland welcomes such healthy competition as it prompts improvement in innovation and product development.
“I think that there’s always going to be a jurisdiction that’s looking to replicate the success of countries like Ireland in terms of being a fund centre,” Fox says.
“In one sense if what we’ve done here hadn’t been so successful people wouldn’t be looking to replicate it. But it’s an international business that we’re involved in – our managers and investors come from right across the world, Irish funds are distributed in over 70 countries, so in reality we’re competing with the world.”
“I think our competitiveness has improved over the last few years, certainly costs have come down and you see that most at the margin but in general costs of doing business here have come down. We have to be competitive, we have to be innovative, we have to be flexible both in terms of how the industry operates and in our relationship with the regulatory authorities which I think we are.”
Fox’s belief in Ireland’s attractions is perhaps best supported by the fact that over the course of last year 700 new funds or sub-funds were launched in Ireland, and 70 new fund promoters established funds along the banks of the Liffey. Such a display of confidence in Ireland suggests there’s little chance of a nasty twist to this tale, rather there’s plenty more still to tell about this other ‘nice little earner’.