Ministers Donohoe & D’Arcy launch “Ireland for Finance” – A new strategy for the international financial services sector

26th April, 2019

The Government today (Friday) unveiled “Ireland for Finance; the new strategy for the further development of the international financial services (IFS) sector in Ireland to 2025.


The Strategy was jointly launched by Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy TD.

The vision of the Strategy is for Ireland to be a top-tier global location of choice for specialist international financial services.

“Ireland for Finance” builds upon the success of “IFS2020″, the previous IFS five-year strategy for the development of the international financial services sector launched in 2015. Some key outputs from IFS2020 were the creation of  9,000 jobs and the launch of the annual  European Financial Forum in Dublin Castle. 

The employment target for the new Strategy is to reach 50,000 people in direct employment in the sector by 2025. This compares with 44,000 people directly employed in the sector at the end of 2018.

In formulating the Strategy, the Government has taken account of current and future developments while also exploring potential challenges and opportunities, especially the potential impact of technology, both positive and negative. 

Commenting on the launch of the new strategy Minister Donohoe said:-

“Unless you can change to meet the ongoing challenges and opportunities of our modern dynamic world, there is a danger of standing still and eventual decline. The ‘Ireland for Finance’ Strategy has been formulated to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the international financial services sector.  Ireland has within its grasp the opportunity to be a world leader by 2025, as a global location for financial services and as a source of technological and innovation-led solutions. It is essential that both the public and private sectors and the educational institutions continue to work together to avail of this great opportunity.”


Commenting on the launch of the new Strategy Minister of State D’Arcy said:-

Ireland has built a very successful international financial services industry. However, we cannot be complacent.  Artificial intelligence and automation will impact on jobs in the future. It is essential that we continue to review our progress to date, and evolve to ensure that we have the necessary talent pool available to face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We also need to develop and identify new markets. The ‘Ireland for Finance’ Strategy is the road map for this ambition which is achievable through continued hard work and commitment by all stakeholders”.
The Strategy is structured around the following four pillars:

  1. The operating environment pillar is focused on ensuring the policy, culture and legislative conditions underpinning IFS will support growth;
  2. The technology and innovation pillar is focused on providing a collaborative approach to addressing emerging challenges and opportunities in technological developments;
  3. The talent pillar seeks to ensure that we continue to have skilled people to meet the demands of the IFS sector, including meeting new and changing skills ; and
  4. The communications and promotionpillar is focused on ensuring that Ireland’s IFS offering is communicated to all those who are or may be attracted to investing in Ireland.

Three horizontal priorities* will apply across the four pillars – regionalisation, sustainable finance and diversity.

The Strategy retains the “whole-of-Government” approach that underpinned the success of previous Government strategies for the international financial services sector. This will be supported through ongoing collaboration between public and private stakeholders and educational institutions to ensure the talent and expertise of all three sectors can continue to be successfully harnessed to build on existing achievements and secure the ambitions set out in the new Strategy.
The Strategy will be updated each year by means of annual Action Plans. This approach ensures that the Strategy remains relevant and up-to-date in identifying and addressing emerging challenges.  Each annual Action Plan will contain a list of measures grouped under each of the four pillars to be actioned in that  year with a responsible stakeholder  tasked with leading on the execution  of each measure.

The implementation of the Strategy is overseen by a public sector High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC) with assistance from an Industry Advisory Committee (IAC).  This Joint Committee meets quarterly and it is chaired by Minister of State D’Arcy. The HLIC membership consists of the Secretary Generals of the Departments of the Taoiseach; Education and Skills; Foreign Affairs and Trade; Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Finance and the Chief Executive Officers of the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.  The IAC includes key industry stakeholders such as representative bodies (secretariat), advisory firms and senior executives from companies across the different international financial services sectors.


Note for editors

  1. The “Ireland for Finance” Strategy is a successor to the IFS2020 Strategy that was launched in March of 2015.


  1. Link to strategy here: 


  1. *The three horizontal priorities are as follows:

Regionalisation (establishing a presence outside Dublin) can result in reduced costs for IFS companies and better staff retention. It can also enable businesses to draw on regional labour pools and well-renowned third level institutions.

Sustainable finance is the capital required to tackle climate change. Sustainable finance includes green bonds, environmental, and socially responsible investments and sustainable infrastructure investments. Sustainable Finance is already an important and growing sector in Ireland and it has the potential for further growth in both size and importance. Across Ireland there are world leaders in sustainable finance investments and increasingly in asset management companies, insurance companies and pension funds.

Workforce diversity
can increase the number of perspectives within an organisation and can provide a better understanding of customer needs.
Action measures to support these priorities will be grouped under the various pillars during the life of the strategy.


  1. Headline actions for 2019

There are over 50 action measures in the Ireland for Finance Action Plan 2019. A number of the 7 headline measures are outlined below:


Pillar 1 – Operating environment

  • Consider Central Bank stakeholder engagement group (measure #2): models and best practice will be researched and considered.


Pilar 2 – Technology and Innovation

  • Establish Fintech Foresight group (measure #4): to drive the further development of fintech under the strategy. This Group is expected to explore matters such as:
  • A virtual digital bridge from the “Silicon Docks in Dublin to IFS companies in Dublin and in other regions”;
  • A link with the Grand Canal Innovation District; and


Pillar 3 – Talent

  • Develop a ‘Women in Finance’ Charter(measure #5) and IFS companies will be invited to sign it every year.


Pillar 4 – Communications and Promotion

  • Focus on regional locations (measure #7) and their advantages