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The Irish fintech ecosystem is as vibrant as ever

The Irish fintech ecosystem is as vibrant as ever - Global Banking | Finance

By Siobhán Hanley, VP Fintech & Payments, IDA Ireland

Siobhan Hanley - Global Banking | Finance

Siobhán Hanley

In the past decade the fintech has evolved and grown at a rapid rate, with the payments sector in particular expected to continue its dynamic course. This unprecedented growth has created opportunity, and Ireland has been extremely successful in attracting investment in this area. Due to its rich ecosystem, the country is increasingly being chosen as the EMEA headquarters for many payment firms.  

Home to many global players shaping the industry, including Mastercard, PayPal, Elavon, Stripe, Fiserv, and Block to name just a few, Ireland is becoming the choice of location for EMEA headquarters by payments firms. As the regulatory environment becomes increasingly complex, payments companies are at the forefront of technological innovation in financial services. As such, the fintech and payments sector has grown at an unprecedented rate and spawned companies in verticals of the industry that did not exist five or ten years ago. Verticals that have evolved over time include online payments and processing, cross-border payments, payment gateways, digital banking and digital remittances, open banking, Regtech, blockchain and digital assets.

This trend is continuing to grow – and the supporting infrastructure needs to keep pace with the constant change. For instance, the continued emergence of so-called digital/neo/challenger institutions has presented significant potential for Ireland to win investment. These technology focused businesses represent the future of banking and demonstrate the shift of consumer and business preferences towards personalised and multifunctional banking applications and services. As these companies compete against traditional banks, there will be further opportunities for Ireland to win investment as challenger institutions look to establish EU/EMEA headquarters and to access a broad pool of talent in areas such as sales, multilingual customer support, engineering & technology, regulated activities and more.

Open banking is creating new markets for consumers, assisting traditional financial services companies and new disruptors with the data to drive the creation of services which were previously unavailable to consumers. Emerging areas such as digital/crypto assets, wealthtech/online brokerage and digital lending products may present further FDI investment opportunities for Ireland into the future.

Underpinning all these emerging areas is the evolving regulatory requirements. An example of this is the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) and Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) regulations which will play a key role in enabling and supervising activity in the digital assets space, in addition to the Central Bank of Ireland’s ‘virtual asset service provider’ (VASP) regime which is already in existence.

Irish Research and Technology Centres are unique internationally as they are truly multidisciplinary, conduct foundational and applied research and deliver research outputs on industry timelines in co-funded collaborative projects. Research centres in Ireland include ADAPT, Insight, CeADAR and LERO. These centres are actively engaging with fintech and payments companies based in Ireland. The further advancements in technology and the investment in RD&I being made by these companies is having a profound effect on the ecosystem and is playing a key role in creating investment opportunity for Ireland.

Ireland is considered an attractive location for investment due to the availability and quality of talent. Ireland has evolved into a high value-add location for business activities. Increasingly, Ireland is competing with global financial centres for more complex activities, which previously would not have been considered. Investments such as Mastercard’s plans to create 1,500 jobs and to build out its new European Technology Hub in Dublin across areas such as AI, cybersecurity, blockchain and user experience demonstrate the commitment of global companies to investments in Ireland.  This trend is set to continue, even against a backdrop of a more challenging macro environment globally. 

Global Banking & Finance Review


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