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New firms look to Dublin for European growth Back  
The past few months has seen a flurry of international financial services firms open in Dublin, with the latest, Eleavon Financial Services, having just received a banking licence from the Financial Regulator.
A flurry of new international financial services firms have opened operations in Ireland over the past few months, with the banking sector, which has been quiet for quite some time, particularly well represented. Moreover, in an interview published on page 16 of this issue, Con Horan, head of prudential supervision with the Financial Regulator, says that there are additional firms in the pipeline.

The most recent bank to be authorised is Eleavon Financial Services. The operation is headed up by Declan Lynch, who has an extensive career in treasury, and was the former CEO of Demica’s Irish operations.

The firm is a subsidiary of US Bankcorp, and in April, it announced its intention to establish a new bank in Ireland, in support of the European merchant acquiring business of euroConex, another subsidiary. The intention is that Eleavon will serve as the European platform for the group’s banking operations, from euroConex’s headquarters in Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin. The bank is expected to focus primarily on merchant acquiring, ‘closed loop’ corporate card issuance, and other wholesale and institutional banking activities within Europe.

The September issue of Finance Dublin revealed that thirteen firms had been authorised in the first nine months of 2006, with an additional two banking applications pending at that time.

One of these pending applications was Wachovia Finance Ireland Limited. The firm is the fourth largest bank in the US with total assets of $700 billion, and the third largest U.S. full-service brokerage firm, and is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In the US, the firm offers full complete banking services, as well as retail brokerage services, asset management, and wealth management services. Wachovia has 40 international offices, including five in Europe (London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan and Madrid), which provide investment banking products and services.

In Ireland, the firm has reported to the Companies Registration Office that it will engage in ‘the provision of finance and financial services’. More specifically, FINANCE understands that the firm will operate as a real estate bank, and will be involved in securitisation through pooling mortgages. It is understood that the firm will be located in the AIB International Centre, in Dublin’s northside docklands, and 50 people are expected to be hired for the firm.
Enda Twomey, deputy director general of the Irish Banking Federation, has been appointed as head of risk management. Twomey played a key role in introducing the covered bond regime in Ireland, and with US firms looking at the covered bond market as a funding mechanism, this might be one of the reasons Wachovia has established an Irish operation.

Moreover, on page 3 we report on a new collateralised loan obligation (CLO) manager, Guggenheim Partners, which is establishing its European operations in Dublin.

The recent announcements follow the moves by other international companies into Ireland in recent times. At the start of the year, Morgan Stanley announced that it was to establish a funds servicing operation in Dublin, and in October, ABN AMRO’s subsidiary, La Salle Bank, opened a funds and debt servicing company, operating from the firm’s building in Dublin’s docklands.

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