Industries explore common strategy initiatives amid European uncertainty
Scotland’s and Ireland’s finance industries say they are working on plans to cooperate and expand what is a key sector in both jurisdictions, as well as overcome any hurdles which may arise as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
The programme is being organised by the Scottish Irish Finance initiative, a collaboration between industry experts and academics, including members of the University of Strathclyde Business School. Leading figures from Scotland and Ireland’s finance communities met at an event in the Irish Consulate General in Edinburgh last week, supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Business Network Scotland, where they discussed how bilateral trade can be developed.
The group says it has received commitments on funding which will allow it to undertake research and publish proposals which can be adopted by Government and companies.
Among the areas of interest is how to maintain Scotland’s flourishing asset management industry and how it may be able to work with Ireland’s world class asset servicing business to develop deeper links. Another area for growth is the development of fintech, where Scotland and Ireland have leading capabilities.
The Scottish Irish Finance initiative says it believes that, by working together, both nations can build on the specialisations they have already developed in areas such as blockchain and distributed ledgers.
Danial 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.
“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.”
David Clarke, an industry consultant who splits his time between Edinburgh and Dublin, and a director of the Scottish Irish Finance Initiative, said: “In a world where international cooperation is seemingly becoming unfashionable, we want to go in the opposite direction. The companies that call Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ireland home are mostly international in their outlook and our project is about finding ways that can reduce the risk they face in a world where barriers are being erected.
“The only sure-fire way that we can maintain our world beating financial industries and see off the challenge from locations such as Berlin, Paris and financial hubs in Asia, is through greater cooperation, and I’m delighted that we are garnering such interest in our initiative.”
John McGrane, Director of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, said: “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.”