Ireland a global hub for financial services with Cork’s strong IFS centre key to its international o

Cork Chamber, the voice of business in Cork, together with the Cork Financial Services Forum, today hosted a national event for the financial services (FS) sector which focused the future of the FS sector and the evolving role of technologies including artificial intelligence. The event, attended by over 160 FS sector leaders from across Ireland, was addressed by keynote speaker Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath TD.

Ireland is now recognised as a significant global financial centre and the international financial services sector has never been a more important sector in the Irish economy. There are over 52,800 people working in the sector across Ireland with almost 40% of all roles in the regions. The growing FS sector in the south west now comprises of over 70 IFS companies in the region. Cork has a rich offering for financial services investors, thanks to its unrivalled strong ecosystem, talent and supportive environment. Cork offers a high quality of life that is second to none, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a thriving financial services environment.

Speaking at the event, Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Finance said, “Ireland is a global hub for financial services and the Department of Finance is taking steps to consolidate that position into the future through the Ireland for Finance Action Plans and the recent Irish Funds 2030 consultation. A key element of Ireland’s financial services offering internationally is a demonstrable ‘all of Ireland industry’ and that is why we have a focus on growing the IFS industry in the regions. This highlights the importance of Ireland having a strong centre for IFS in Cork and the relevance of the high calibre event we witnessed today.”

As chair of the Cork Financial Services Forum, I am thrilled to gather leaders and pioneers in our field to exchange ideas, share insights that will allow the sector to collectively navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for financial services. In the South-West region, the financial services sector thrives within a strong, supportive environment. This ecosystem encompasses the UCC and MTU business faculties, numerous prominent global IFS firms, indigenous innovators as well as professional services firms boasting specialised teams dedicated to financial services. Additionally, a dynamic business support environment, which includes the Cork Financial Services Forum and state agencies such as IDA and Enterprise Ireland, all serve to complement the sector in the region. Over the past decade, the sector has displayed consistent growth, transforming companies within the financial services arena into substantial employers. These companies attract a diverse, global workforce, with international professionals choosing South-West Ireland as their new home. This collaborative environment extends to critical areas like ICT, AI and cybersecurity, which are set to play a significant role in the future of the financial services industry,said Karen Conboy Chair of Cork Financial Services Forum.

Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber remarked, “Cork and the South-West’s financial services sector has grown at a rapid pace over the past 15 years (with the arrival of global industry companies supported network of professional support services and indigenous firms). This growth has been supported by a strong talent pipeline from our two Universities, UCC and MTU, mature ICT and cyber clusters complementing new areas of FS growth, a business-friendly environment and deep collaboration between business, state agencies and the higher education sectors - as demonstrated by the Cork Financial Services Forum.”

“It is vital that the government commitments made in the national and local development plans are delivered upon in order to truly support the private sector investors. Investment must continue in our housing, education and other infrastructure if we are to enhance the accessibility and attractiveness of the region in order to maintain and grow our reputation as a top-class location for quality of life.”  

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