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The Irish Financial Services landscape continues to soar in 2019

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The Irish financial services sector has experienced another fruitful 12 months with more job opportunities arising and a desirable increase in salaries.

Cpl Finance forecast that the breadth of the sector is set to increase by up to 10% in 2019. This surge in growth is driven by the increasing dominance of the Irish financial services market on a global playing field.

On average, salaries have increased by up to 9-10% within the sector with some specialties, including Risk and Compliance, increasing by up to 15% in the asset management and investment management space.

The uncertainty of the UK market remains one of the main factors driving this trend. A looming Brexit has made Ireland an attractive international base being somewhat immune to immigration issues and offering passporting opportunities to a single EU market. This has aided the upward trend in financial services salaries.

We have seen a number of the world's leading investment banks and asset management companies opening new functions in Dublin which has created increased competition for talent, particularly in Risk and Compliance.

Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch being two prominent examples of this expansion. Our domestic banks have been hungrier to do business due to the continued improvement in the economy while the established fund services firms saw further growth with existing firms growing out their client base.

Growth is not limited to the capital however, with up to 30% of employment in foreign owned financial services companies outside of the dominant Dublin/Mid East region. Significant investment has been experienced nationwide with Northern Trust expanding in Limerick, BNP Paribas in Galway and BNY in Cork. While salaries in these regions tend to be 15-25% lower, depending on the county, this is compensated for by the lower cost of living and greater availability of housing.

Across the three main pillars of Financial Services in Ireland which are Banking, Funds and Asset Management, there are emerging skillsets which are proving most in demand. Within Banking,

Credit Managers both new business and restructuring, Risk and Compliance, and new Business Relationship Managers across Retail, Private and Corporate Banking are highly sought after for 2019. A Senior Private Banking Manager can now command up to �150k base salary on the market, rising from �130K in 2018.

In the ever prosperous Funds space, Fund Accountants, Transfer Agency, Custody, Risk, AML and Compliance continue to be in massive demand. A Director of Fund Accounting can now expect up to �150k.

We have seen a big uplift in the Asset Management and Investments arena over the last 12 months with big demand for Investment Analysts, Quants, Risk and Compliance candidates. Those with CFA and FRM qualifications are favoured in this area with their choice of offers. Senior Managers Compliance and Risk can now earn a lucrative �100k in comparison to �80-�85k in the previous 12 months.

In order to attract and retain talent in this competitive landscape, many companies have restructured their benefits packages with most firms now offering enticing pensions, healthcare and bonuses, with profit shares and car allowances available at more senior level roles. Additionally, companies are willing to invest heavily in training to facilitate the upskilling of professionals who may be transitioning from other financial services backgrounds.

Commenting on the buoyancy of the market, Ben McShane, Director of Financial Services at Cpl concluded, 'The Financial Services industry in Ireland is going through such an exciting phase with lots of new entrants to the market and the continued evolution of roles due to technology and new regulations. Firms will continue to have the same challenges when it comes to the attraction and retention of talent and it will be very interesting to see what new initiative companies will introduce in 2019 to help them stand out from their competitors.'

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This article was originally published in the Sunday Business Post on Sunday 20th January 2019.