Dublin works to woo fund managers after Brexit vote

Mr Lardner says Ireland's recent reforms will open up additional scope for private equity and real asset funds, which include metals, commodities and property.
Mr Lardner says Ireland's recent reforms will open up additional scope for private equity and real asset funds, which include metals, commodities and property.ST PHOTO: GERALDINE GOH

Irish capital marketing itself as hub for investment management

Ireland is promoting its capital, Dublin, as the city of choice for investment management, in the light of Britain's impending departure from the European Union.

Britain's exit will affect the ability of financial firms there to operate as freely in the EU as they do now.

That leaves the door open to cities like Dublin that can offer the same access now enjoyed by British cities.

The Irish Funds Industry Association is urging investors in Singapore to consider Ireland as an alternative destination for funds management.

Irish Funds chief executive Pat Lardner said the country's recent reforms will open up additional scope for private equity and real asset funds, which include metals, commodities and property.

The reforms include waiving stamp duty on the transfer of units in the funds and value-added tax exemption on management fees.

Mr Lardner, who was in Singapore to brief fund managers on Thursday, told The Straits Times that Ireland can be an effective partner in financial services.

"Out of the €3.6 trillion (S$5.5 trillion) administered in Ireland, half of it is domiciled in the country," he noted. "We're the second-largest fund management hub in the EU after Luxembourg, and around 40 per cent of the world's hedge funds are administered in Ireland.

"It is cheaper to operate in Dublin than in other European capitals. We have good infrastructure, legal framework and the English language. We are tax efficient, with a corporate tax (rate) of 12.5 per cent.

"We are also a leading financial technology location in Europe, attracting fintech venture investments."

Few fund managers in Singapore look to Ireland as a domicile for investment funds and asset management. Mr Michael Coleman, director of Singapore-based fund management firm RCMA Asset Management, told The Straits Times that the most common destinations for hedge funds are the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and the Channel Islands because of their established regulatory regimes and cost-effective set-up.

In comparison, Ireland is only starting to develop itself as a global leader in international financial services.

Mr Yeo Seng Chong, chief investment officer of Yeoman Capital Management, said: "Unless there is a marked difference in advantages for investors, they would rather leave their funds in a place where the tax governance structure is good and the Companies Act is robust.

"Perhaps institutional investors may be attracted to move their funds to Ireland if there are very attractive gains to make a difference, because there is a transactional cost for funds transfer."

Ireland's Minister of State for Financial Services Eoghan Murphy will be here on Sept 21 to address the business community and deliver a public lecture at the National University of Singapore's Centre for Banking and Finance Law.

He will also travel to Shanghai and Tokyo to promote Ireland's financial expertise.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2016, with the headline 'Dublin works to woo fund managers after Brexit vote'. Print Edition | Subscribe