Commenting on the launch of the new strategy Minister Donohoe said: “Unless you can change to meet the ongoing challenges and opportunities of our modern dynamic world, there is a danger of standing still and eventual decline. The ‘Ireland for Finance’ Strategy has been formulated to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the international financial services sector. Ireland has within its grasp the opportunity to be a world leader by 2025, as a global location for financial services and as a source of technological and innovation-led solutions. It is essential that both the public and private sectors and the educational institutions continue to work together to avail of this great opportunity.”
Minister of State D’Arcy said: “Ireland has built a very successful international financial services industry. However, we cannot be complacent. Artificial intelligence and automation will impact on jobs in the future. It is essential that we continue to review our progress to date, and evolve to ensure that we have the necessary talent pool available to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We also need to develop and identify new markets. The ‘Ireland for Finance’ Strategy is the road map for this ambition which is achievable through continued hard work and commitment by all stakeholders”.
The Strategy is structured around four 'pillars':
1. The operating environment pillar is focused on ensuring the policy, culture and legislative conditions underpinning IFS will support growth;
2. The technology and innovation pillar is focused on providing a collaborative approach to addressing emerging challenges and opportunities in technological developments;
3. The talent pillar seeks to ensure that we continue to have skilled people to meet the demands of the IFS sector, including meeting new and changing skills ; and
4. The communications and promotion pillar is focused on ensuring that Ireland’s IFS offering is communicated to all those who are or may be attracted to investing in Ireland.
Three additional horizontal priorities* will apply across the four pillars - regionalisation, sustainable finance and diversity.
Anouncing the Strategy a Government statement says: it "retains the “whole-of-Government” approach that underpinned the success of previous Government strategies for the international financial services sector. This will be supported through ongoing collaboration between public and private stakeholders and educational institutions to ensure the talent and expertise of all three sectors can continue to be successfully harnessed to build on existing achievements and secure the ambitions set out in the new Strategy'.
"The Strategy will be updated each year by means of annual Action Plans. This approach ensures that the Strategy remains relevant and up-to-date in identifying and addressing emerging challenges. Each annual Action Plan will contain a list of measures grouped under each of the four pillars to be actioned in that year with a responsible stakeholder tasked with leading on the execution of each measure.
"The implementation of the Strategy is overseen by a public sector High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC) with assistance from an Industry Advisory Committee (IAC). This Joint Committee meets quarterly and it is chaired by Minister of State D’Arcy. The HLIC membership consists of the Secretary Generals of the Departments of the Taoiseach; Education and Skills; Foreign Affairs and Trade; Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Finance and the Chief Executive Officers of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. The IAC includes key industry stakeholders such as representative bodies (secretariat), advisory firms and senior executives from companies across the different international financial services sectors.
Amongst 50 action measures in the Ireland for Finance Action Plan 2019, 'Headline actions' for 2019 identifed in the statement include:
"Pillar 1 - Operating environment
• Consider Central Bank stakeholder engagement group: models and best practice will be researched and considered.
"Pillar 2 - Technology and Innovation
• Establish Fintech Foresight group: to drive the further development of fintech under the strategy. This Group is expected to explore matters such as:
• A 'virtual digital bridge' from the “Silicon Docks in Dublin to IFS companies in Dublin and in other regions”;
• A link with the Grand Canal Innovation District; and
"Pillar 3 - Talent
• Develop a ‘Women in Finance’ Charter and IFS companies will be invited to sign it every year.
"Pillar 4 - Communications and Promotion
• Focus on regional locations and their advantages