Brexit boosts international banks’ Irish balance sheets to over €500bn
The Irish balance sheets of large systemically important banks with international operations run from Ireland have grown by as much as €200bn since the UK voted to leave the EU six years ago, a new study has found.
The transfers put Ireland in only second place behind Germany when it comes to the value of assets that were moved from UK to EU banks after Brexit.
The shift in funds and expansion of operations mean Ireland had the eighth largest international banking sector in the EU by the end of 2020, up from ninth a year earlier.
While globally, the financial movements pushed Ireland’s international banking sector up two places to the 17th biggest.
The expansion of these operations since Brexit has brought to €517bn the total amount on the Irish balance sheets of international banks that are supervised by the European regulatory authorities.
“While Ireland’s international financial services sector has steadily grown over the decades, the UK’s exit from the EU has accelerated this trend, with Ireland now one of the key EU hubs for international banking and capital markets activity,” said Fiona Gallagher, chair of the Federation of International Banks in Ireland (FIBI) and CEO of Wells Fargo Bank International.
“Many UK and global banking groups built-up or established new Irish entities to service EU clients post-Brexit.
“This has seen an influx of new staff, assets, risk management capabilities and investment services activities in Ireland.”
Ms Gallagher also pointed out that in many of the lenders, EU branch networks have also been revised.
This has resulted in the transfer of EU branches of UK entities to new EU entities in Ireland.
“International banking operations in Ireland are now acting as a key bridge to servicing the EU market, directly and through its vast EU branch networks,” she said.
The research also suggests that another driving factor behind the growth of the international banks sector here has been major growth of systemically important institutions that use their bases in Ireland to service the global and EU market.
The findings are contained in a report produced by FIBI and the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.
The study analyses the contribution made by international banks to the economy here.
Ireland is now the eighth largest exporter of financial services in the world and is the fifth largest exporter of financial services in Europe, the data also shows.
The financial services sector employs 50,000 people here, with 29,000 of those working for foreign owned firms.
They collectively spend €1.7bn directly into the economy each year with €0.8bn coming from wages and salaries.
Corporation tax receipts from the international banking businesses here accounted for 18% of total corporation tax take in 2020.