Recovering Ireland sets sights on Asia

Ireland’s fund industry is set to target Asia with the opening of new offices across the region through which it is hoped to attract fresh corporate and investment business.

Reeling from austerity measures introduced to address hefty debt burdens, and from falling confidence on global markets, Ireland’s fund industry has done well to maintain its position in Europe. But it is now taking the initiative with a push into areas management believes will provide new fund flows.

The Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA) and IDA Ireland, the government’s inward investment agency, will have representatives on the ground in Tokyo, and Singapore for the first time. IFIA representative offices were opened in June in Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and London when the new partnership with IDA Ireland was first revealed. Other offices throughout the world are also being planned.

Ken Owens, Chair of the IFIA said Asia is a crucial market for Ireland. “We believe we can offer the solutions and services required by managers and promoters from the region.” Recent independent statistics showed Ireland was the managers’ choice in terms of both UCITS and alternative investments during 2011 as it strives to ensure an optimum business environment for internationally distributed funds.

“Opening these representative offices means that we can be on the ground in two of our key growth markets to promote Ireland as the jurisdiction of choice for internationally distributed investment funds and be on hand to assist managers looking for the product solutions and expertise Ireland can offer in an ever changing global regulatory landscape.”
Gary Palmer, Chief Executive of the IFIA, said the new offices demonstrate collaboration between the industry and Government agencies. An Irish trade mission has recently toured Singapore, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur.

The Irish funds industry is preparing for Europe’s AIFMD, with QIF (Qualified Investor Fund) registrations “soaring”. Recent figures from the Central Bank of Ireland show the number of QIFs at an all time high of 1,273, with assets reaching a peak of €159bn. Ireland already administers more than 40% of the world’s alternative investments. QIF assets have grown some 18% in the past 12 months, according to the data given.

On the retail side, recent figures from EFAMA showed Ireland attracted the highest inflow of net assets (€41.5bn) of any domicile for 2011 so far, and almost two and half times that of the next most successful domicile.

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