More than 100 British funds seeking post-Brexit licences in Dublin

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Irish central bank governor Philip Lane. Photo: Reuters

More than 100 UK-based asset managers and funds have applied to the Irish central bank for authorisation in Ireland, in yet another sign that London will see a post-Brexit dent to its status as a financial capital.

The central bank’s director of asset management supervision told a recent board meeting that the number of such firms operating from Ireland will jump by more than a third if the applications are all successful, according to Ireland’s Sunday Business Post. The bank currently supervises about 350 such firms.

Marshall Wace, one of the UK’s largest hedge funds, is one of those whose authorisation has already been approved. The firm, which is chaired by Brexit supporter Paul Marshall, has sought to expand its Dublin operation in recent months, according to the Financial Times.

The number does not include other firms within the financial services sector, such as banks and insurance companies, many of which have also invested heavily in Dublin as part of their post-Brexit contingency planning.

READ MORE: Irish Central Bank processing Brexit-related applications

The governor of the central bank, Philip Lane, last month said that his staff were processing over 100 Brexit-related applications from financial services firms, but this list included trading venues, electronic money institutions and insurance firms in addition to investment funds and asset managers.

In October, Barclays sought court approval to move over £200bn ($254bn) in assets and some 6,800 clients to its Irish subsidiary ahead of the UK’s March 2019 withdrawal from the European Union.

READ MORE: Barclays seeks court approval to move £224bn assets to Ireland

Bank of America has also chosen Dublin as the location for its primary post-Brexit EU hub. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK-based financial services firms will lose their “passporting” rights, the mechanism that allows them to do business in other EU countries.

Ireland is seen as a plausible location for the hundreds of firms that would be forced to move in such a scenario, given many of them already have operations in Dublin.

In June, more than a third of the 222 large UK-based financial services firms tracked by accounting firm EY said that they were either considering or had decided to move some operations or staff from the UK to elsewhere in the EU. Over 50 said they had already decided on their post-Brexit location.