The chairperson of the industry representative group for the financial services in Ireland has called on the Government to support the creation of a fintech hub here.
Joe Heneghan said the commitment of Minister of State, Jennifer Carroll-MacNeill, to work towards its establishment is welcome.
“The digital revolution of financial services is here and every firm in the industry is now a fintech firm,” he told the Financial Services Ireland annual dinner.
“Ireland can be at the forefront of fintech and we believe that the establishment of a dedicated physical space would be a pivotal part of that.”
He said the hub would be a vibrant centre for innovation, collaboration and growth, open to everyone in the industry, which would serve as a bustling ecosystem.
“But fundamentally, I believe it would deliver jobs, growth and investment for Ireland,” he told attendees tonight.
Mr Heneghan also welcomed the recent announcement by the Central Bank that it would set up a regulatory sandbox for financial services.
“It is clear that innovation in the financial sector is not just a goal, but a necessity,” he said and such a sandbox would be “level shift”.
The FSI chair also called for changes in the Finance Bill to address concerns of the aircraft leasing about tax measures announced in the budget that would negatively affect such firms.
He said the industry in Ireland represents around $100bn in assets, making it a significant and strategic contributor to the Irish economy and Ireland as a financial sector.
“A stable tax regime is key to maintaining this,” he said.
Addressing the same gathering, the Minister for Finance said further amendments to the bill would be published shortly and the Government remains open to further engagement with the aircraft leasing sector in respect of the issues that arise from Revenue withdrawing certain opinions in relation to the tax system.
Michael McGrath also expressed his full support for the development of a fintech hub sought by FSI.
On the wider economy, the minister said the country has turned the corner and is well past the peak of inflation and we can expect it to moderate much more, averaging out at 3% next year.
But he said the latest economic data shows a mixed picture overall for the Irish economy.
“On the one hand the domestic economy had proven to be remarkably solid,” he said, evidenced by the extraordinary strength of the labour market.
But he said higher frequency data has suggested some softening of activity more recently as businesses and households grapple with higher interest rates and the global environment.
He added though that the expectation is that significant recent investments in the IT, pharma, medtech and financial services sectors will positively impact on Irish economic performance over the time ahead.
The minister also said that work is advancing on the heads of a bill to ensure access to cash and the necessary regulation of ATM services in Ireland.
He added that work is also continuing on advancing full legislation for the new auto-enrolment pension system.