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Strong recruitment market looks set to continue Back  
With business booming in Ireland’s international financial services sector, companies operating in the sector are actively hiring in order to keep up with this level of growth. Fiona Reddan looks at which companies are hiring and what they are looking for in staff.
Ireland’s international financial services (IFS) sector created 1,485 net new jobs in 2005, according to the Finance Dublin Yearbook 2006, and all indications are that this number will be met, or exceeded in 2006.
Of the firms reporting their recruitment figures for 2006 in the Yearbook, those operating in funds are set to be the biggest employers, with some of the larger firms recruiting over 100 people over the course of this year. In 2005, the sector grew from 7,317 employees to 8,144, according to the Yearbook, an increase of 11 per cent, and all indications are that a similar growth rate can be expected in 2006.

Continued growth in the volume of funds assets serviced in Ireland, which grew by 10 per cent to ?641.9 billion in the first four months of 2006, is leading to a sustained demand for funds professionals. However, with so many firms recruiting, competition is fierce to recruit and retain appropriate candidates.
In order to widen the pool of potential employees therefore, the funds industry, which was previously concentrated in Dublin, is rapidly expanding its barriers, with firms hoping to benefit from lower labour costs and lower staff turnover by opening additional operations all over Ireland.

One of the firms recruiting is PFPC International, which services both mutual and hedge funds, and is looking to recruit an additional 150 staff members over the course of this year. Some of the open positions include a business development executive, an assistant manager for hedge fund accounting and graduates for the firm’s Dublin office. In Wexford and Meath the firm is looking to hire fund accountants.

Another fund servicer, BISYS Hedge Fund Services (BHFS), which specialises in hedge funds, is also actively recruiting this year, aiming to bring its total work force up from 329 to 410 by year end.
BHFS was established in Dublin with just four staff members eight years ago, and the company has since dramatically expanded employment to the 400 professionals it employs today.

‘BHFS looks for staff with varied business backgrounds and with different qualifications in order to keep pace with the dynamism of the alternative business,’ says Karen Tyrrell, managing director.
She says that having staff capable of keeping pace is critical to the success of an administrator’s business, as alternative/hedge funds are generally complex in structure, can invest in esoteric instruments; and can have different nuances in the area of performance fee calculations. In addition, regulatory requirements have increased and managers continually look to out-perform each other by offering some new fee calculation.

Although some firms have found it difficult to recruit staff in today’s tight labour market, Tyrell highlights the fact that Ireland has been an excellent location in sourcing staff for the firm’s business, ‘given the fact that we look for such a range of qualifications and don’t fish in the same pond as others, so to speak’. She points to the example of the firm’s Global Data Services Group, which specialises in the valuation of complex OTC derivative instruments, and which is staffed by applied mathematicians and astrophysicists.

Tryell adds that typical staff at BHFS holds the following qualifications and or experience: accounting, finance, economics, business, client service, legal, corporate services, mathematics, chartered financial analysts, physics, quantitative analysis etc.
Custom House Administration & Corporate Services Limited, the Dublin based hedge funds servicing firm, is also looking to grow its staff numbers from 101 to 120 over the course of this year.

In 2004, Merrill Lynch selected Dublin to be the hub for certain of its support services in Europe, and as a result it opened a new office in Central Park, Leopardstown. The new investment will bring Merrill Lynch’s employment in Ireland to 700 people when fully implemented, and by the end of 2005 the firm hopes to employ 550 people in its city centre and Leopardstown offices.

Some of the positions the bank is currently recruiting for include an assistant vice president of European settlements, a vice president of regulatory finance, and a finance vice president.
Hewlett-Packard International Bank is also looking to recruit due to expansion, and is looking to fill its new facility in Leixlip. As a result, the firm is set to recruit 150 staff before the end of the year. In April, the firm expanded its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, with the centralisation of further activities at the facility. HP currently employs 250 people in Leixlip. Most of the jobs are for graduates with financial, marketing, multilingual and customer relationship skills.

Other big banking recruiters over the course of the year include Depfa Bank, which intends to grow its workforce from 299 to 500, and Nexgen which plans to expand its workforce to 80 by the end of 2006.

Last year The Hartford Life was the big recruiter in insurance, following the establishment of its life assurance operation in Swords. This year Capita Life & Pensions expects to hire an additional 60 staff, although a certain proportion of this figure most likely includes staff for the firm’s new fund administration operation, Capita Financial Administrators (Ireland) Limited. In Shannon, Halifax also hopes to expand and hire an additional 14 staff members, while Scottish Equitable International, which opened its Dublin operation in 2001, is set to grow its work force by 15 to 65.

CIT’s European Services Centre in Ireland houses the financial and portfolio management operations for the company’s specialty finance division. Last year the firm established an aviation finance operation in Dublin, and due to continued growth within the group, it is looking to hire an additional 60 staff in 2006.

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