Cork Airport’s poor links to mainland Europe make doing business in the area prohibitive, the Irish operations managing director of a major European financial services company has said.
Seán O’Donovan of Clearstream Global Securities Services said Cork was missing out on exposure to large multi-national firms.
He was speaking at the opening of Clearstream’s office in the Cork Airport Business Park. It will be home to 300 former Citco staff who have transferred to CGSS following Clear-stream’s acquisition of Citco’s Cork business for approximately €50m.
“We have many of our clients in Switzerland and flights from Cork to Switzerland is a struggle, so any of my staff, if they need to go there — and they do need to go there often — it’s a three-day trip just for maybe an hour meeting,” said Mr O’Donovan.
“On the opposite side, those clients work for huge, big financial institutions, but they don’t come to Cork because it’s too much out of their time, so they never see it. They never see the good facilities, the infrastructure. They never see our building and meet [our] people.
“So maybe, if they were better served and it was easier for them to be able to travel here, they might get a chance to see.”
CEO Jeffrey Tessler said the introduction of a mooted financial transaction tax would probably have prevented Clearstream basing its operations — now the third-largest of parent firm Deutsche Börse — here.
He said if the Tobin tax — a levy of between 0.01% and 0.1% on financial transactions — came in as “an across-the-board tax”, it would spell the end for Europe as a major market.
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