Calls for “increased collaboration” between the finance industries of Scotland and Ireland have been made ahead of crucial meetings in Dublin this week.
David Clarke, founder and policy director of the Scottish-Irish Finance Initiative (SIFI), said companies and policy makers had an “obligation” to work together ahead of Brexit.
His comments came in advance of Scottish Government minister Kate Forbes’ visit to Dublin on Friday, where she will meet with representatives of Ireland’s financial industry and the Irish government.
The aim of the visit is to encourage cooperation, particularly within the funds industry, between Scotland and Ireland, enabling companies to trade effectively after Brexit and to help younger financial businesses to grow.
The SIFI initiative, set up in 2017, aims to help companies in the UK and Ireland continue to trade effectively after Brexit with an ultimate ambition to create a new type of cluster that straddles borders and establishes a finance/fintech corridor stretching across Scotland and Ireland.
Scotland has more than £800 billion of assets under management while Ireland is one of Europe’s biggest fund servicing centres with about £4 trillion of assets under administration.
Clarke said: “With Scottish asset managers, banks and insurers braced for barriers being erected between them and the lucrative EU market, it’s critical for them to know that Ireland provides a receptive base for their European operations.
Likewise for Irish and international businesses based in Ireland looking to sell into the UK post-Brexit there is a centre of financial expertise with critical mass and a receptive pro-European culture only a 40 minute flight away.
“Both countries have been successful to date on their own terms. In the future both will be challenged by regional and not national industry hubs.
“If Irish and Scottish businesses and policy makers, by working together, can bring more high-value jobs into our economies and spread even more wealth throughout our communities, we have an obligation to grasp this opportunity.”
Clarke said collaboration of this kind would be “very much on the table” throughout the meetings this week.