Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (177)

Mary Lou McDonald


177. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on his address to the European Financial Forum on 31 January 2018. [7228/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The third annual European Financial Forum (EFF) was held on 31 January 2018 in Dublin Castle under the heading of "Building a New Future for International Financial Services". The event, which was hosted by my colleague Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance Michael D’Arcy TD, is now in its third year and is a key deliverable as part of the Government’s International Financial Services 2020 (IFS2020) Strategy. The organisation and execution of the Forum is the responsibility of IDA Ireland, with input where required from Departments and agencies as part of IFS2020.

The international financial services (IFS) industry is an important pillar of the Irish economy, directly employing over 42,000 people across the country. The employment is a mix of those working for international firms that have chosen to locate activities in Ireland and indigenous Irish firms that export internationally traded financial services.

The current Government Strategy for the IFS sector, IFS2020, was developed in 2015 to address the challenges of growing the sector at a time of unprecedented change. The IFS2020 Strategy is led by Minister D’Arcy with the purpose of protecting and growing employment in IFS companies in the IDA and Enterprise Ireland portfolio. The vision of IFS2020 is for Ireland to be the location of choice for specialist international financial services, building on our strengths in talent, technology, innovation and excellent client services, while focusing on capturing new opportunities in a changing market and embracing the highest forms of governance.

The EFF 2018 was a tremendous success with over 700 domestic and international delegates in attendance. The core function of the event is to promote Ireland as a location for IFS. This is achieved by bringing together the leading organisations in the public and private sector to discuss the future of the European financial system. In doing so, the Forum highlights the commitment of the Government of Ireland to the European project and the range of IFS activities that are carried out from here. The Forum also highlights the commitment of the Government of Ireland to the sector and the partnership approach it adopts with industry to grow the sector in Dublin and throughout the country.

The 2018 Forum was opened by An Taoiseach and featured keynote addresses from Philip Lane; Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Colm Kelleher; President of Morgan Stanley, and Benoît Cœuré; Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank to name a few.

As part of the Forum, I had the pleasure of delivering a keynote closing address and having an on-stage conversation alongside Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union at the European Commission. This provided the opportunity for both the Vice President and I to share our perspectives on the policy and regulatory developments impacting financial services in Europe today and in the year ahead. It was particularly notable as the Vice President delivered his first public remarks on the final report of the High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, an area of key importance for the future of finance. Ireland offers a unique blend of expertise and a proven track record in the area of green and sustainable finance, with a globally-recognised cluster of talent in renewable energy finance and experience in green asset management, and I welcomed the Vice President’s statement.

The European Financial Forum, as a Government-led initiative, is a unique event that is emerging as a fixture in the international media. Having the Forum as an annual event serves as a focal point for the work of the IFS2020 strategy and provides a platform to respond to significant events such as Brexit.

Preliminary planning for the 2019 Forum is currently underway, led once again by IDA Ireland. We hope that the 2019 EFF will build on the continued success of the EFF as a showcase for Ireland’s financial services environment and Ireland as a location for high-quality investment.