Ireland continues to attract attention from both companies looking to invest in Europe while managing Brexit uncertainty and companies looking to divest from the UK and gain comfort around their ability to trade efficiently with their European customers in a post Brexit landscape.
The Irish Government recently gave the green light to the Investment Limited Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2019, a key deliverable in Ireland’s “Ireland for Finance” 2025 Strategy (released in April 2019 – see the full report here) to develop its international financial services sector and to take advantage of the growth in non-banking finance in Europe. This bill is designed to make Ireland a more attractive domicile for private equity funds and already we are seeing service providers in this area scaling their headcount, in some cases significantly, to meet the new opportunities this bill will create.
Generally in Ireland organic growth, operational efficiencies, launching new products and collaboration with innovative 3rd parties remaining high on the agenda for CEO’s. However local skills shortages, the resulting difficulty in hiring and retaining people and increasing people costs are all proving a frustration and a barrier to this growth. In particular, the areas of compliance, risk, regulatory reporting, project/change management and IT/Data are continuing to prove real challenges for financial services organisations across the board.
Conflicting signals continued to emerge in the financial services labour market in Q2. A recent PwC report stated that the financial services market in Ireland remains buoyant with 61% of organisations intent on increasing their headcount further in 2019. This flew in the face of a recent Irish Jobs.ie report which signalled a 15% YoY drop in Financial Services vacancies on their site to Q2 2019. This contradiction is perhaps symptomatic of the fundamental uncertainty that exists in the FS market in Ireland – CEO’s want to grow their business, but uncertainty is causing hesitation in the release/signoff of headcount.
These factors combine to create a reasonably frustrating market for both hiring managers and candidates alike. Hiring managers with genuine needs finding it both hard to find good people and equally hard to get sign off on permanent headcount. Candidates having ample opportunity but being frustrated by the duration of the recruitment process and uncertainty at the final stages.
Compliance continues to be a key hiring area for most financial services firms in Dublin. A lot of new asset managers to Ireland are now hiring for mid-level compliance professionals. This means that candidates in this space continue to have ample choice, which is pushing up salaries. This is particularly true for UCITS and MIFID II based positions.
Risk is also an area in demand with operational risk being a key hiring area for both insurers and retail banks. Operational risk is unique as it is much easier to move across difference financial services businesses once you are a strong risk professional.
Projects/Business Process Transformation is a key focus for the majority of financial services organisations, given the strategic priority for operational efficiencies. Daily rate/Fixed Term Contract project and change professionals (from both an operational and an IT background) are a key area in the war for talent in Ireland.
IT/Data Analytics while the market is still concentrated on the more traditional business analysis areas we are seeing a definite uplift in the demand for future facing data scientists.
It is expected that the inherent frustrations, for candidates and hiring managers, described above, will continue well into Q4, if not beyond. Ultimately some sort of clarity, even if only for the short/medium term, will enable decision making which will, inevitably, see the hiring market picking up more pace and competition for key talent if FS accelerating. Hiring needs will continue to be prioritised around both the strategic agendas for CEO’s (as outlined earlier) and the need to attract and retain best in class specialist skills across compliance, risk and other in demand professions across the FS landscape.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Fiona Gallagher, Deutsche Bank’s current Chief Country Officer for Ireland was appointed CEO for Wells Fargo Bank International Unlimited.
AXA-owned asset management firm Architas has strengthened its efforts in the Irish funds market by naming a chief executive officer, Charles Lamb, and two investment managers, Niall McDonnell and Richard Byrne, as part of plans to create 11 new roles in the country.
Northern Trust has appointed Meliosa O’Caoimh as Ireland Country Head, responsible for all asset servicing businesses activities in their Dublin and Limerick business units. She succeeds Clive Bellows, who in late-2018 was appointed as head of Global Fund Services for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Property finance platform Initiative Ireland has appointed Aisling Healy as its Director of Finance and Treasury.
The Irish Central Bank has appointed William Molloy as its director of financial operations.
Susan O’Halloran was appointed chief legal officer at National Treasury Management Agency.
Irishman Barry O’Dwyer has been named CEO of UK insurance and investment group Royal London.
For more information about the market or current opportunities please contact one of our Consultants.