Celtic tigers poised to cash in as Brexit storm crashes around London’s finances

Nathanael Williams

Scotland and Ireland’s financial experts seeks ways to defy Brexit and muscle in on London’s market

THE SCOTTISH AND IRISH FINANCIAL SERVICES are looking at ways to cooperate in the face of Brexit according to insiders, experts and financiers.

Research bodies supported by the Irish Consulate General in Edinburgh, Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Business Network in Scotland will launch the Scottish-Irish Finance Initiative (SIFI) to see if they can expand financial services across both countries.

The news comes as Deutsche Bank announced it may close part of its major operations in the City of London and move 400 jobs to the continent in response to the EU stating that EU financial regulators and hubs could not remain in a Brexit UK.

“Surprisingly many financial companies aren’t aware of the opportunities available to them just a short hop over the Irish Sea.” Daniel Broby

Both Dublin and Edinburgh companies have been keen to promote themselves as alternatives if London does not get a favourable exemption deal in terms of being able to access the EU single market.

On a trip to Dublin last year, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon made overtures to politicians and business leaders in the Republic of Ireland.

Commenting on the initiative, Daniel Broby, Director of the Centre for Financial Regulation and Innovation at Strathclyde, a director of the Scottish-Irish Finance Initiative said: “Dublin, Edinburgh and Glasgow are amongst the most important financial hubs in Europe outside of London. Surprisingly many financial companies aren’t aware of the opportunities available to them just a short hop over the Irish Sea.

Nicola Sturgeon tells corporate Ireland that Scotland will back the single market 

“By concentrating on our strengths, lining up two English-speaking centres that share a similar legal system, and focusing on the fintech future, both Scotland and Ireland can turn challenges into advantages.

“What’s also important to note is how our initiative may help firms in London overcome some of the issues associated with Brexit.”

The SIFI will also look at ways to increase trade bilaterally between Scotland and the whole of Ireland at its inaugural meeting tonight at Irish Consulate General in Edinburgh.

Scotland’s financial services industry employs 100,000 people directly and generates £8bn for the Scottish economy

Ireland has more than €3.7trn of assets handled and more than 500 firms operating in Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre, with an average salary of more than €60,000. financial services account for 13.5 per cent of corporation tax revenues collected in the country.

In Scotland’s case, the financial services industry employs 100,000 people directly, and a similar amount indirectly, generating £8bn for the Scottish economy. It has £800 bn worth of assets under management and holds a quarter of the UK’s entire life assurance workforce.

John McGrane, director of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the initiative. “The Chamber is very supportive of initiatives to bring companies together across the Irish Sea. Scotland and Ireland have so much in common and the finance industry provides great opportunities for growth in both markets.”

Picture courtesy of William Murphy

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is: Pledge your support today.