Ireland as a Financial Powerhouse: An Interview with Brian Ruane of BNY Mellon
02 September 2014
This article originally appeared in our firm magazine, MH&C Times. You can view the full issue here.
In this interview, our Chairperson, Emer Gilvarry, speaks with Brian Ruane, Executive Vice President at the BNY Mellon, about the funds industry and why Ireland continues to be a great place for global companies to do business.
Emer Gilvarry (EG): BNY Mellon’s presence in Ireland remains substantial. Tell us about the extent of your operations currently in Ireland.
Brian Ruane (BR): BNY Mellon has had a presence in Ireland for 20 years, having opened its first office in 1994 as one of the IFSC’s pioneer companies. Ireland remains our second largest location across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Today we employ over 1,700 people based in Cork, Dublin and Wexford.
In Ireland, the company focuses on investment services and delivers a broad range of services to traditional and alternative asset managers, banks, pension funds, insurance companies and corporates, offering a range of services including asset servicing, alternative investment services, corporate trust and depositary receipts. Pershing, a wholly owned subsidiary of BNY Mellon, also has a presence in Ireland.
(EG): Can you share some reasons why BNY Mellon chose to set up a business presence in Ireland?
BR: As a small but flexible open economy, Ireland remains a very attractive location for global companies, with over 250 financial institutions now based here. Like BNY Mellon I believe the majority of them are here for the long haul, and many have utilised some attributes unique to Ireland to build their businesses. For companies with operations in the US, Asia and Europe running on different time zones, Ireland is a great geographic location, the business can be active 24/7 – something that’s very important to our clients.
In addition, the workforce in Ireland is young, well educated, highly skilled and committed to their employers. The IFSC is home to several big players in the financial services industry, it is well diversified and there is a positive business environment supported by a well respected and knowledgeable regulator.
(EG): Has the recent crisis impacted American opinion of Ireland as a centre for business?
BR: The economic crisis was a challenge for everyone in business, but the attributes that successfully attracted many US and international businesses to Ireland pre-recession continue to hold true. Ireland continues to be well respected within the international financial services industry and is now recognised in the US and elsewhere as a leading location for a range of financial services including banking, asset financing, hedge funds and insurance.
The numbers speak for themselves – the Irish funds industry now has €2.3 trillion in assets under administration and is the largest hedge fund administration centre in the world, servicing over 40% of global and in excess of 60% of European hedge fund assets. This provides a very positive platform from which to move forward.
(EG): Ireland seems to have survived the economic crisis; do you think the worst is over?
BR: The indications are certainly positive with unemployment figures decreasing and the debt to GDP ratio stabilising. Signs of recovery in Ireland are reinforced by the determination of Government, key decision makers and business leaders to deliver the best possible infrastructure from a regulatory, legal and tax perspective to ensure that Ireland continues to attract investment and retains its position as a leading destination for international companies to do business.
(EG): Can you share with us the outlook for BNY Mellon in Ireland, in terms of potential expansion or holding steady with the current presence?
BR: BNY Mellon has been in Ireland for two decades; we are invested in our business and our people in Ireland and firmly established as a leading financial institution and an integral part of the success that is the Irish funds industry. Ireland continues to be a prime international location for financial services and a centre of excellence for new talent. With an industry that is continuously expanding and developing, Ireland is an exciting place to be and we look forward to strengthening BNY Mellon’s presence into the future.
(EG): Are there any changes that would make Ireland more attractive as a location to do business?
BR: In December 2013, Forbes magazine named Ireland as “the best country for business” scoring high in categories such as low tax burden, investor protection and personal freedom. Despite global economic problems and in particular a challenging European economy, Ireland has continued to be pro-business and has continued to attract foreign investment from leading international companies with many choosing Ireland as their European headquarters. I believe the country continues to punch above its weight and, if key stakeholders in the public and private sectors continue to work together, the country will continue to be positively positioned to take advantage into the future.
(EG): How do you balance your significant charitable work in the Irish American community, such as your support of the Irish Centre in Queens and leadership in the American Irish Historical Society, with the demands of your professional and family life?
BR: I keep my priorities clear in my mind, which are firstly my wife Anna and children Sarah, Emma, Jack and Ellie. Secondly, there are my responsibilities at BNY Mellon, to the employees, clients and shareholders. Anna and I also try to give back to worthy causes where we can make a difference, contribute and enjoy ourselves. Hopefully I strike a fair balance, although, like many people, this is a challenge.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice. Mason Hayes & Curran (www.mhc.ie) is a leading business law firm with offices in Dublin, London and New York.