Print this article

IQ-EQ Builds European Union Foothold With Irish Move

Tom Burroughes

4 March 2021

Investor services group has launched a dedicated funds business in Ireland, establishing a base in a European Union member state after the UK’s departure from the bloc.

The firm will move some senior figures to its wider UK and Ireland cluster, including Belfast-based Eoghan Harney, who will become the director and head of fund accounting, it said in a statement yesterday. IQ-EQ achieved authorisation as a fund administrator from the Central Bank of Ireland on 15 December 2020 and its new Irish Funds business will go live operationally on 18 March 2021.

IQ-EQ is also hiring external candidates. It has named Gary Palmer, former chief executive of the Irish Funds Industry Association, as chairman and non-executive director.

“Ireland is already popular among US fund managers, having cemented its status with the Irish Connective Asset Management Vehicle (ICAV), which complements US tax planning,” the firm said, referring to ways in which US-based clients, for example, want to tap into the country and wider EU.

“Establishing a funds business in Ireland was a logical next step for IQ-EQ, which has operated in Ireland for the last 30 years. In fact, taking this step was very much a client-led initiative, with many of our clients and intermediaries looking to us to set up a funds operation in what is recognised as a key funds domicile,” Joanne McEnteggart, managing director of IQ-EQ Ireland, said.

The move is an example of Brexit having forced firms to build presences in the EU if they want to continue unfettered access to the 27-state bloc. The EY Financial Services Brexit Tracker, for example, shows that 43 per cent of financial services firms say they have moved or intend to shift some operations and/or staff from the UK to Europe. To date, a total of almost £1.3 trillion of financial assets have moved to the EU.

Dublin and Luxembourg remain the most popular EU destinations for staff relocations, new European hubs or office relocations, EY said. More than a quarter (26 per cent and 57 out of 222) of UK financial services firms have articulated the negative financial impact Brexit is having or will have on their business.

There remains debate over the extent to which Brexit will hurt the UK financial service sector (the UK trade pact with the EU, agreed at the very end of 2020, didn’t address financial services in detail). Late last year, the fund administration industry in Luxembourg played down threats to London when it spoke to this publication.