26/07/2007

Bank To Create 250 New Jobs In NI

The Bank of Ireland Group (BOI) has today announced a multi-million pound investment in Northern Ireland that will create 149 jobs over the next five years.

BOI plan to establish a specialist business in Belfast to service the rapidly growing offshore investment funds market, specifically hedge funds.

The Bank has also announced intentions to expand their existing branch and business centres in Northern Ireland which will create a further 100 new jobs.

Invest NI has supported the new hedge fund business as it will create high value jobs for accountants and skilled graduates over the next five years, forming part of Bank of Ireland Securities Services (BOISS).

Leslie Morrison, Chief Executive, Invest Northern Ireland said: "The hedge funds centre of excellence will reinforce Northern Ireland's reputation as a premier location for investment whilst playing an integral role in the growth of Bank of Ireland Securities Services offering to its International client base."

Financial plans to increase existing business in Northern Ireland will include a 19m euro (almost £13m) investment by the Bank to expand its network of branches and business centres over the next two years with staff increasing by 100 and the first business centre is due to open in Lisburn, County Antrim later this year.

Speaking at the announcement in Belfast, Brian Goggin, Group Chief Executive, Bank of Ireland said: "In line with our strategy of expanding our niche skill-based businesses, we are very excited about the prospect of creating a sizeable presence in Belfast servicing the international offshore hedge fund industry.

"Our Securities Services business in Dublin already services a total of US$160bn of assets of which in excess of US$3.5bn are in hedge funds and we believe there is considerable potential for expansion in this market."

Mr Goggin emphasised that the decision to set up the operation in Belfast was because of the quality of the people available.

He said: "We currently have a significant presence in Northern Ireland with 44 branches, eight business centres and 1,300 staff across a range of business lines. A major factor in our decision to locate our new Securities Services business in Belfast reflects the quality of professional people in the marketplace and our existing strong links with the universities here as a result of placement programs."

He said that the operation was a skill, not a scale business and he was confident that there was a significant pool of quality professionals that could be attracted.

"The restoration of devolution has not only brought a greater sense of hope and optimism for the future but it has also projected the Northern Ireland economy onto centre stage and created the circumstances for strong business growth," said Mr Goggin.

(SB/SP)

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