Convergence of tech and finance puts Irish FinTech on the map

Having been the hotbed of financial activity in Ireland for the past 25 years Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre is now a key component of a developing financial technology sector here, alongside native technical expertise.

A number of indigenous FinTech companies are making waves internationally and helping transform Ireland into a global hub with the synergy created between established firms in the IFSC and technology start-ups key to its future success.

“All the major technology players are here as well, with Google, Facebook, PayPal and so on all having operations here in Ireland. There are many spinoffs from the two sectors around the country and we are on our way to creating a FinTech innovation ecosystem,” according to PwC tax partner, Paul Murphy.

“Citi and MasterCard are setting up innovation centres in Dublin, while Liberty and Zurich have already established research centres. The large multinationals are playing their part.

“There is a natural convergence and cross-pollination between the IT and financial services sectors and this is helping drive innovation.” The innovation spurred by Irish FinTech firms such as Realex, TransferMate, CurrencyFair, FundRecs and Fenergo has helped put Ireland on the sector map.

CurrencyFair and TransferMate are bringing new products to currency exchange and international payments — competing directly with mainstream banks. Others like FundRecs and Fenergo are providing products which help established financial services players become more efficient and profitable.

US company, Global Payments’s willingness to shell out €115m for Realex in one of the biggest acquisitions of the year involving an Irish firm is proof of the success of not only the Colm Lyon-founded company but the wider indigenous sector too.

KPMG tax partner Anna Scally says a wider range of supports and FinTech events like MoneyConf are popping up around the country which can only help the sector’s future growth here.

“Ireland also has considerable strengths in the software sector in the domestic sector and [with] people working for the multinationals. That’s central to it, you need really strong software expertise. It’s not surprising that an innovation hotbed has developed here,” said Ms Scally.


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