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IFSC 'must be modernised'


The Irish state's top civil servant has warned that the Irish Financial Services Centre (IFSC) is no longer fit for purpose and suggested something needs to be done to modernise it if Ireland is to retain its reputation as a hub for International business.

Martin Fraser, secretary general of the Department of An Taoiseach, told the most recent meeting of the IFSC Clearing House Group that the IFSC's strategy is now a few years old and requires a major revamp.

While the hub has been attacked in the past for giving the financial services industry a level of access to central government that no other sector has, its existence shows the importance of financial services to the Irish economy, reports the Irish Times.

The IFSC - based in North Wall, Dublin - has been the centre of controversy in the past, having been set up by financier Dermot Desmond along with former Taoiseach Charles Haughey.

There are currently more than 500 financial operations allowed to trade within the IFSC, including more than half of the world's top institutions.

One of the Irish government's key job strategies is to generate some 10,000 positions in the district over the coming three years, although the centre endured significant losses over the last decade due to the deprivations of the financial crisis.

While the IFSC is apparently still on track to meet this target, Mr Fraser expressed concerns that the business area is not prepared to capitalise on changes taking place in the world economy.

"He told the group of his belief that there should be a new ambitious, coherent, and co-ordinated plan which all relevant stakeholders would buy into in order to rebrand and market the industry to build on the skills and expertise already available there," the minutes state.

Tim Hennessy of Axis Capital suggested refining the IFSC's offering and focusing on a specific target area in order to make the hub relevant to the modern financial world, which is becoming increasingly specialised.

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