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Tuesday, 27th February 2024
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Wild geese Back  
Ireland’s financial experts roam Gibraltar and Glasgow this month.
Adrian Maher
Managing Director, EIM (Gibraltar) Limited

How long in current position? One year

What does job involve?

The EIM Group of Companies, which is privately owned, constructs multi-manager portfolios focused on alternative investment products (generally hedge funds and CTAs) for family offices and small to medium size institutional investors including private banks, insurance companies and endowments. More recently, we have sought to apply our expertise to long-only products.

A typical day could include some or all of the following:

• liaising with clients regarding preparation of management agreements; provision of information regarding the make up of the portfolio; provision of monthly valuations

• working with clients, lawyers, stockbrokers regarding the structuring of new private label fund products, listing on the Irish Stock Exchange.

• liaising with third party administrators and custodians.

• working with the group asset allocation team based in Switzerland

• normal day to day management of operations including meeting all regulatory requirements

• director of a number of group companies and fund companies.

The main difference between my work now and one year ago is significantly more client contact and more involvement in the asset allocation process.

Time outside Ireland? Live in Gibraltar and travel from there to other parts of Europe and USA. 85 per cent of time is spent outside Ireland.

Initial reaction? How has this changed? Having lived outside Ireland twice before, I thought I had finished my overseas stints. However, the opportunity to open a new investment management company was very attractive as well as the obvious benefits of living in a beautiful part of the world like Andalucia.

Strategic importance?
The Gibraltar company,which I run, acts as the interface between clients and head office in respect of non-Swiss clients. In fact, it is a smaller version of our Swiss operations.

Best thing? Ireland at the cutting edge? The best thing about being located outside Ireland is a general broadening of one's perspective and the opportunity to experience other cultures at first hand. It is clear that Ireland is now recognised as a serious participant in the offshore financial services arena with a reputation for probity, flexibility, professionalism and strong work ethic.

Worst thing? The worst thing about being abroad is lack of ongoing close contact with family and friends, and the Irish sense of humour!

David McGee

Head of Asset Finance Europe, National Australia Bank, Glasgow

How long in current position? Sixteen months (since October 1998)

What exactly does your job involve? Developing and growing the asset finance business of National Australia Bank in the UK and Ireland. We operate under the brands of Clydesdale Bank in Scotland, Yorkshire Bank in England, Northern Bank in Northern Ireland and National Irish Bank in the Republic of Ireland. However, the businesses report and operate under one management structure and, although operating in different geographical regions, the practices, products and strategies are all standardised/harmonised. We are also responsible for originating, delivering and promoting new asset finance products. All the businesses are supported by one centralised sales support centre in Glasgow.

Because of the size of the business, its spread of responsibilities and the full ownership of how the business succeeds or otherwise, my current job/role is significantly larger and more demanding than my previous job (in National Irish Bank).

How much time outside Ireland? For business, I would be home around eight days a year but I also return every fourth/fifth week for the weekend.

Initial reaction when you offered this position? How has this changed? Initially, I was delighted with the job and the responsibilities that would come with it. It did however put new pressures on me. I had to find new restaurants. Learn to cook for myself. - the torture of ironing and a host of other challenges for a spoilt bachelor in a new unsupported world. How do I feel now? The washing and ironing has not got any less stressful. Glasgow has some nice restaurants though.

Strategically fit within group's business? Our business has a critical role to play in delivering the growth and profit aspirations of the group. Asset finance products have critical customer retention and acquisition dimensions. New customers of the group can deal with us without disrupting their existing banking relationships. If and when they like our business style, service or culture they can meet our other business partners - the retailers, international, treasury and investments/insurance. Our products are ideal door openers with the added comfort of being secured on the assets we finance.

Best thing about being outside Ireland? Ireland at the cutting edge of financial services? Looking back, the best thing is the excitement of returning. I do however believe that everybody should spend, if possible, some of their career outside Ireland. Although it is a wonderful place to work with a well educated and friendly workforce, a successful economy which defies international sceptics and a country which many of the world's largest companies have chosen as their foreign home, we can still easily fall into a degree of insularity. Working abroad definitely widens your business and personal appreciation and perspective on life. It provides you with an experience and knowledge that you will never obtain from a textbook.

Having said that, Ireland has an extremely well developed and sophisticated financial services industry. The success of the IFSC broadened the available skills and talent base and enhanced the countries international reputation.

Worst thing about being abroad? Being away from family and friends. It is extremely difficult to maintain contact with friends. Then there is the weather (colder and wetter). The lack of coverage of English football (I am an Everton supporter). Think of having to watch Queen of the South and Arbroath on Saturday's Match of the Day and you will get close to the feeling. Then of course we are back to those household chores!

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