Aug 19, 2015

Numerix and IDA Ireland: Investing in Ireland

In this blog Steve O’Hanlon, CEO of Numerix discusses the key benefits of working in collaboration with IDA Ireland and elaborates on Numerix’s plans for expansion and job creation within the country. David O'Flaherty, Vice President for IDA Ireland based in New York also joins the conversation, discussing the significant growth of the financial services sector in Ireland, especially for fast-growing financial software companies like Numerix.
Steven R. O’Hanlon noted that Numerix is drawn to the exceptionally qualified pool of employees in Ireland which will help the firm to meet its staffing needs and business objectives, specifically for research and development initiatives.

Weigh in and continue the conversation on Twitter @nxanalytics, LinkedIn, or in the comments section.

Jim Jockle (Host): Hi welcome to the Numerix Video Blog. I’m your host Jim Jockle. Today on the blog we have David O’ Flaherty, VP for the IDA in Ireland based here in New York and Steven O’ Hanlon CEO of Numerix, good afternoon gentlemen.  

Steven O’ Hanlon (Guest): Good afternoon.

David O’ Flaherty (Guest):  Hi Jim.

Jockle: So the IDA is a part of the strategic development of Ireland, so David why don’t we just start with you and give us a little bit of the overview of what the IDA does and some of the roles and responsibility of what the IDA is bringing to Ireland.

O’ Flaherty: Yeah, absolutely. So IDA Ireland is the Irish Government Investment Agency that’s responsible for promoting and attracting foreign direct investment into Ireland. We have about 300 people globally, headquartered in Dublin. I would say a large percentage of the business that’s come into Ireland over recent years comes from the US and we’ve got seven offices around the US that supports that business. Our main focus is in supporting, providing consultancy, incentives and advice for companies that want to establish different operations enough in Ireland across multiple activities and sectors. I’d say a lot of the main sectors we’ve focused on would be financial services is obviously a big area with over 200 multinational financial service companies located in Ireland. Pharmaceuticals is very significant as well and the life science industry as well as the technology sector.

Jockle: And part of the revolution in Ireland has really been in technology, a lot of education programs in terms of focus of the universities. Perhaps, you know, part of the attraction is the talent pool that’s available to so many companies that are coming into the country.

O’ Flaherty: Yeah absolutely. And I think it’s, important when you look at why a company goes to Ireland, there’s probably a number of different reasons. When companies land in Ireland they find it very business-friendly, English-speaking, common-law jurisdiction which is important for the US. But also, then you’ve got a competitive tax environment with which goes hand in hand with educated, highly productive workforce, and I think it’s probably the talent side of it, that is particularly on financial services technology, that is playing a bigger role. Companies are finding that they can go to Ireland and get the highly skilled talent that they want to grow and expand their business right here

Jockle: So speaking of growth, Steve thank you for coming on, perhaps you can tell us about Numerix’s vision for the opening of its base of operations in Ireland.

O’ Hanlon: Thank you, Jim. I think the primary motive for me personally is having a last name like O’ Hanlon, meant that we needed to have a beachhead in Ireland so that I could feel that we were truly taking advantage of my heritage. As a software company, this was one of the key things, but most important for this process is that we are a company that has specialized financial human capital needs. And what that means is that we are a company that thrives with risk professionals and Financial Engineers, and Ireland, especially the Dublin area, is a hotbed of this kind of individual. They’ve been produced over there, they’ve learned how to do financial engineering in the schooling system in Ireland, and as a result, we see an opportunity to take advantage of a well-trained population of individuals that could really help us on a global basis not just in Ireland.

Jockle: So, Steve you’ve been working with David for a while now, perhaps you can give us a little bit of insight on working with the IDA as the company is now moving strong into Dublin.

O’ Hanlon: Yes well, David and other members of the team at the IDA have been nothing but hospitable, helpful, and trying to provide us the knowledge to enter that work force and that market place in a seamless way as possible. So you know, here’s a perfect example: we are constantly looking for financial engineers and David was able to help us to identify some recruiters that were able to put us in touch with a host of financial engineers that we’re considering for employment as well as other positions as well, so that’s one area that they’ve already made an impact and cut out the aspect of trying to network to find the right kinds of recruiters that could help us. The second thing that we will want to take advantage of is this aspect of once we’ve begun to hire people, we need to establish an office presence and in doing so they’re there ready and willing to help us to secure space and get up and running and it’ll take a lot of time off of our hands and enable us to be more fluid in that marketplace.

Jockle: So David, one of the questions I have for you is, obviously as a software company we see a lot of major software companies coming to Ireland, like Microsoft, good partner of ours, but also so many financial institutions themselves setting up considerable fronts in the Dublin financial center. Perhaps you could give us a little bit of the trend of how are the banks and insurance companies coming over and what does that outlook look like?

O’ Flaherty: Yeah absolutely, and it’s an interesting area because I think financial services and technology is merging and crossing over more and more. So you know if you look at it in Ireland there’s a large technology industry there that has been there, for you know, just started over four decades ago  and you’ve got the names like IBM and Microsoft and all of the large, big players are there and have operations and then on the financial services side you’ve got a lot of the large players as well from CITI to BNY Mellon to State Street, Blackrock, and you know the list goes on, all the main players in the US have a presence there. What’s interesting I think over the recent years is that a lot of the financial institutions that we deal with over here and also the operations that they’ve established in Ireland, are now looking to Ireland to increase their technology capabilities. So they’ve got to expand their technology, they’re trying to leverage off to get a competitive advantage, they might have increased regulation and risk compliance, and they’re using technology as a solution for that. Where they locate that is kind of a driven probably more by getting access to the talent. It’s hard to get…you know there is a high demand for technology people globally at the moment, especially at the level of saying were Numerix is, which is really highly innovative and well-educated personnel, there’s a demand for that, and where you locate. So Ireland has that offering. And I think one, because it has this long history on the technology side and the financial services side, so it’s got the technologists and the senior developers, but it’s also got the people in the financial services side that have the product knowledge. So combining the two of them offers a good solution for Numerix and Ireland.  

Jockle: And there’s been such innovation being driven right now by so many start-ups in EMEA, a lot of disruptive technologies. Steve, as the overseer of a disruptive technology, perhaps you can give us a little insight as development continues to move into Irish operations in tapping into that pool. What do you see as kind of the future looking ahead as we’re adding more and more developers into that operation?

O’ Hanlon: Yes and I think that’s a key point I was highlighting earlier, Jim. Financial engineers and bringing forth the point David about technology personnel and talent out in Ireland this is also another key area that you’ve helped us to identify some recruiters, some core key developers in the area of risk and the frontier for Numerix to explore and continue to really drive forward within the vision for us is to one day be a full-fledged enterprise risk management and pricing company. And as a result we can only do that if we can hire the right kind of talent to be able to build our footprint out in risk in a more profound way and we see the lucrative aspects of being in Ireland rather than being in England as pivotal for us for being able to number one have a good cost proposition as well as being able to recruit the right kind of talent, we can then setup shop there and develop out core aspects of our risk platform to really begin to disrupt an industry.

Jockle: I guess, you know another question is, is there enough people? You know, I believe the government is making great strides as it relates to the university programs to cultivate that talent, but we’re also seeing more ex-pats coming into Ireland at this point?

O’ Flaherty: It’s a good question, you know, there’s obviously, as I mentioned, a big demand globally for technology people and you know if you look at the companies that are there on the technology and the financial services side, you see the sides of the operations, it’s an obvious question are they getting the available talent?  And the answer is yes, I think it’s probably for a number of different reasons. For quite some time now you know the Irish government has been very focused on making sure about the universities of producing the graduates for the particular areas around technology and financial services, so that’s definitely been a really valuable source for companies going in, that they can get access to really good graduates coming out. And then of course you’ve got the past experience. So all these companies, as I’ve mentioned earlier, are there a long time so there’s a lot of very highly-qualified people in there that have gone through the ranks, that have worked for international companies, that have done some time overseas, come back, and that gives you that experience that you need for that management level. And what we find is then because we’re an EU member, we’ve got access to the entire European pool of people without the Visa restrictions, so you’ll find that a lot of technology companies it could be a percentage of their workforce, it could be anything from 10-30 percent of their workforce, will actually come from other countries around Europe.

Jockle: So just some closing thoughts that look ahead. What do we expect from the IDA and some innovations coming out of Ireland over the next 12 months?

O’ Flaherty: And that’s a good question as well, you know it’s interesting I think the space where Numerix is in, you know this highly advanced, innovative software development technology range of financial services is at the cutting edge, and financial technology or “FinTech” as it can be known in the industry is a very important part of the financial services strategy for Ireland. So earlier this year we released a Financial services strategy IFS 2020, which the government released and a very important component of that strategy is financial technology. And I see that kind common with a few different strands, one is that the innovative start-up companies that are coming out with the disruptive technologies also, they have their location in Ireland and they are being provided with incubation centers and there’s different companies sponsoring the innovation labs that are around those. I also then see the specialist firms, like Numerix, that provides that cutting edge innovation into the financial services industry and then you’ve got kind of financial technology that resides within the established financial institutions. So when you take the three of those there’s quite a strong ecosystem and cluster effect being generated in Ireland and I think going forward, that’s only going to get stronger because of the companies behind it, because the governments behind it, and also because the industry is also strongly behind it.

Jockle: And Steve, you know as a benefactor and contributor to that ecosystem, your thoughts looking ahead in the next 12 to 18 months for Numerix and its growth within Ireland.  

O’ Hanlon: Yes we expect to build a complete team of individuals, not just financial engineers or development, but you can expect to see Numerix open up a corporate support center, a global support center there to take advantage of being able to address the customer needs that we have around the globe. We have 350 direct clients, 350 indirect clients through 80 partners in 26 counties around the world and we see this as a center for excellence in the area of supporting our clients. We also see this as an opportunity to broaden our area with regard to legal assistance. Our very first Irish employee happens to be from Ireland, lives in Ireland, and will eventually relocate into Dublin when an office is open there and I expect other attorneys will be hired as well to deal with our contractual issues with our clients because it’s very demanding. And from Ireland I can see us handling the entire Asia-Pacific rim and the European, Middle East, and Africa locations as well. So I think Ireland is going to offer us the perfect cost entry point to be able to grow a footprint that will help Numerix to grow more significantly into the future and control its costs for the future.

Jockle: Well, David O’ Flaherty, VP for the IDA in Ireland and Steven O’ Hanlon CEO of Numerix, thank you so much for joining. And of course, please follow the growth of Numerix into Ireland and for those that are potential candidates check out and perhaps you can be part of that team. I want to thank you so much gentlemen and we’ll talk to you next time.


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Reflecting on SIFMA: Risk and the Explosion of Market Complexity

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