Chloé Wade, VP of international financial services at IDA Ireland, highlights the expanding fintech sector in Ireland. With its focus on investment and innovation, Ireland is solidifying its position as a global hub, setting the stage for a promising future.

Ireland’s fintech and payments industry has expanded significantly, solidifying its position as a hub for investment and innovation on a worldwide scale. Vice President of international financial services for the UK at IDA Ireland, Chloé Wade, discusses the sector’s expansion and its potential for the future.

One of the industries in Ireland that is now expanding the fastest is fintech and payments, which has made impressive achievements in recent years. Local Irish businesses are expanding and growing with the help of Enterprise Ireland, while multinational corporations wishing to go global continue to pick Ireland as their preferred site.

This is due to a number of factors, including the fact that Ireland is the sole English-speaking nation in the EU, that it is a common law jurisdiction, that its government is pro-business, and that its workforce is highly educated and talented. Last but not least, there is a clear presence of big tech and expansive financial services. These have been crucial considerations for businesses seeking to locate their EU/EMEA headquarters, and Ireland’s success is demonstrated by the sheer number of businesses that have picked the country, including R3, Remitly, S&P Global, Revolut, MoneyCorp, and Boku.

From small beginnings to rapid expansion

The Irish Financial Services Centre (IFSC), which was established in the middle of the 1980s, is credited with helping Ireland become a significant player in the financial services industry. Many young, educated people were traveling at the time in quest of opportunity and professional advancement. With assistance from the European Union, the Irish government established the IFSC in Dublin to aid in boosting employment and bolstering the economy in response to this so-called “brain drain.”

Even though it took some time, during the past 40 years, an increasing number of financial institutions have opened operations in Ireland, making the IFSC a significant hub for financial services in Europe.

From big multinational banks like Barclays and HSBC to investment managers like BNY Mellon and Vanguard to insurers and reinsurers like AXA, Alliance, and MunichRe, there is a wide range across all verticals of the industry. An extensive ecosystem and network of stakeholders, business organizations, and governmental organizations supports them.

Cooperation is essential

The formation of the IFSC in Dublin aided the development of Ireland’s broader financial services industry and facilitated foreign direct investment (FDI). Today, Ireland’s financial services industry is home to more than 420 FDI businesses. not just in Dublin but also all over the rest of the nation. They are all helping their companies grow internationally and flourish on a larger scale.

Within the sector in Ireland, there is obvious collaboration with academia. Numerous of these businesses have active relationships with universities and third-level institutions. Additionally, research institutions should create specialized credentials that address the industry’s expanding needs.

Examples include the BSc/MSc Immersive Software Engineering program developed in conjunction with the founders of Stripe at the University of Limerick and the MSc in fintech offered by the National College of Ireland. Through this collaboration, the industry is kept abreast of the most recent developments in technology, legal requirements, and market trends. It also reinforces Ireland’s standing as a centre for innovation and knowledge.

The changing regulatory landscape in the UK

There are many things to think about and consequences for financial services companies owing to Brexit. Many fintech and payments companies have chosen Ireland as their preferred location, and companies with headquarters in the UK and the US have had to make strategic judgments concerning EU/EMEA hubs. This includes numerous UK businesses such as Soldo, Corpay, Paysafe, Trust Payments, and TrueLayer.

The primary factor for many was regulatory authorization, with licenses for electronic money institutions (EMI) and payments institutions (PI) being the most sought-after authorizations. The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has approved 23 PI firms and 21 EMI firms thus far, including Paysend, myPOS, and Modulr, among other UK businesses.

To ease the exchange of virtual assets, fintech and payments companies have also applied for MiFID authorizations and VASP registrations (Virtual Asset Service Provider). Well-known businesses with VASP registrations in Ireland include Gemini, Paysafe, Zodia Custody, and Paysafe.

Companies initially developed front-office operations and regulatory tasks in Ireland to support their EU business. However, many have expanded operations to encompass different roles as a result of Ireland’s superior talent pool, operational effectiveness, and favorable business environment. These include software engineering, RD&I, and technological development.

Centre for global fintech

There is evident sub-sectoral growth in Ireland in sectors such digital payments, cross-border payments, payment gateways, digital banking, digital remittances, open banking, regtech, blockchain, and digital assets. The fintech and payments field is continuing to scale and grow.

About 60 foreign-owned businesses (FDI) with operations in the fintech and payments sectors and a workforce of around 7,000 people work in Ireland. These businesses have a long record of choosing Ireland as their location of choice, and it still draws in more businesses eager to go global, spur growth, and innovate.

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