International Financial Services Centre

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Famine sculpture in front of the IFSC

The International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), somtimes mistakenly called the "Irish" Financial Services Centre,[citation needed] is a major European financial centre located in North Wall and parts of East Wall, Dublin, Ireland. As of 2014 the centre ostensibly employs 35,500 people in over 500 companies, generating some 2.1 billion euro.[1]


The IFSC comprises the area between Memorial Road, Amiens Street, Lower Sheriff Street (including part of Crinan Strand), Guild Street, and the River Liffey along North Wall Quay and Custom House Quay. Adjacent districts include East Wall to the north and Spencer Dock to the east; the Custom House, Busáras and the city centre lie to the west along Store Street and Abbey Street. Within the IFSC, the original development area lies west of Commons Street.

East of Commons Street is the later IFSC II area, along North Wall Quay and Lower Mayor Street. It is an integrated development located in the centre of the city which incorporates office accommodation, educational institutions, housing, restaurants and shopping facilities.

East of Guild Street and down as far as the Point Depot is the most recent IFSC III area containing the Central Bank of Ireland, the NTMA as well the offices of PwC and numerous Fintech companies including Yahoo, Fenergo and Voxpro.


The main sectors of activity in the IFSC are outlined below:

Investment Management & Fund Administration[edit]

The original proposal for the IFSC was that it would become a location for high-margin investment management and securities trading activity given the low tax rate and proximity to the major centres of London and Paris. For various reasons the IFSC attracted few such operations with Pioneer Investments being the only real example. Whenever material employment is listed in investment management in the IFSC it is usually from the domestic Irish fund management firms (i.e. Irish Life Assurance plc) or really fund administration business mis-classified.

Fund Administration (covering mainly fund accounting, fund administration, fund custody and transfer agency) is the largest employer in IFSC making up almost a third of identified IFSC jobs and totaling almost 9,274 jobs at the last reliable study.[2] The four largest global fund administration and custody providers all have major offices in the IFSC State Street, Bank of New York Mellon, Citibank and Northern Trust, as well as internal fund administration departments from major global investment banks such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.


The introduction of the Irish Section 110 SPV in 1997, described by PriceWaterhouseCoopers as the "heart of the Irish structured finance regime"[3], enabled the IFSC become the largest provider of SPVs in the EU securitisation market[4], and has made Ireland the 4th largest shadow banking centre in the world.[5]. While Irish SPVs pay no effective Irish taxes, they are estimated to contribute over €100m annually to the Irish Economy from fees paid to local professional services firms (i.e. legal, accounting, corporate services providers etc.) [6]

Banking & Insurance[edit]

Some of the world's largest banks have offices in the IFSC. Their focus is mainly on administration support for Securitisation and Structured Finance activities, the IFSC Aircraft Leasing sector, or conducting in-house Corporate Treasury and Fund Administration functions for their own parent. There are no examples yet of major foreign banks conducting higher margin Investment Banking, Securities Trading or Corporate Banking or Corporate Finance directly from their IFSC platform (these activities are still mostly done from bases in London, Paris or Frankfurt in Europe).[7]

The main insurance activities cover Life Insurance (mostly niche investment products from niche firms), General Insurance (also niche risk products from niche firms), Reinsurance (Solvency II consolidation wrappers from major offshore players) and Captive Insurance (in-house self-insurers of major multi-nationals). There is little insurance risk originated or underwritten in the IFSC (London is the base for such activities), however the IFSC provides a platform and legal / taxation wrapper for niche insurance products sold on a pan-EU basis through the parent's main channels.[8]

Aircraft Leasing[edit]

The IFSC is one of the largest aircraft leasing hubs in the world with 14 of the top 15 aircraft lessors headquartered in Ireland (including Aercap, GECAS, RBS, SMBC and Avalon) and circa 50% of the world’s fleet of leased aircraft is managed through IFSC companies.[9] Unlike most other IFSC sectors, the Aircraft Leasing sector includes high margin activities. While the sector employs under 1,000 people (versus Fund Administration at almost 10,000 jobs), it provides over €500m annually to the Irish Economy [10] making it one of the most valuable sectors in the IFSC.

Corporate Treasury[edit]

The Corporate Treasury sector primarily consists of standalone subsidiaries of large non-financial services organisations (e.g. Pfizer, Xerox and Securitas), which conduct in-house treasury functions for their parent, and often serve shared services centres serving multiple locations and functions.

Other Activities[edit]

The National College of Ireland is situated within the IFSC.


The IFSC was the brainchild of financier Dermot Desmond,[11] whose NCB financed a study by Price Waterhouse on the feasibilities of an 'IFSC'.[12] Desmond then approached Fianna Fáil leader Charles Haughey, then in opposition, who made it the centrepiece of his economic manifesto when he came back into power.

The Finance Act, 1987 (Section 30) allowed for the designation of an area exempt from normal taxation laws (akin to a special economic zone), which would carry a special reduced 10% Irish corporate taxation rate. The construction of three major offices (The International Centre, IFSC House and La Touche House) became the first physical manifestation of the IFSC. To operate in the IFSC (and access the 10% tax rate) companies had to be approved by the Certification Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising of representatives from the Irish Development Authority, the Department of Finance, the Department of Enterprise and Employment and the Central Bank of Ireland.

In effect, Ireland became an IFSC under a new 12.5% corporation tax rate. By 2006, the legal requirement for an IFSC special economic zone was over and all Irish corporations were on the 12.5% rate.

After the crisis[edit]

The response of the regulator which followed the Irish financial crisis led many financial institutions to move operations elsewhere[13] and caused Dublin's ranking as a financial services centre to drop for a time from 10th in 2009 to 70th in 2014.[14] IFSC institutions cited the timeliness of decisions by the Central Bank of Ireland as having a significant impact on their operations.[15] Since 2014 Dublin has rapidly recovered developing a broader base of service offerings and rising to 33 in the GCFI rankings as of March 2017[16][better source needed]

Notable participants in the IFSC[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Ireland's IFSC Employment Trends" (PDF). FSI and IBEC. 4 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Structured Finance (Section 110)". PWC Ireland. 2016. 
  4. ^ "Ireland is top Eurozone jurisdiction for SPVs". Irish Independent. 19 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "Ireland has world's fourth largest shadow banking sector, hosting €2.02 trillion of assets". Irish Independent. 18 March 2018. 
  6. ^ "Ireland: The Leading European Jurisdiction for SPVs, Structured Finance and Securitised Structures" (PDF). Irish Debt Securities Association. 2016. 
  7. ^ "The IFSC" (PDF). FSI / Accenture. September 2010. 
  8. ^ "The IFSC" (PDF). FSI / Accenture. September 2010. 
  9. ^ "Ireland as a location for aircraft leasing" (PDF). Grant Thornton. 2018. 
  10. ^ "Taking Flight 2018" (PDF). PriceWaterHouseCoopers. 2018. 
  11. ^ "Dermot Desmond". 21 June 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2010. 
  12. ^ "The Sunday Business Post". 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Dublin's ranking as a financial centre continues to plummet". Irish Times. 22 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Banking body argues for strong signal on corporation tax rate in IFSC strategy". Irish Times. 14 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "GFCI". March 2017. 

Coordinates: 53°20′58.28″N 6°14′49.97″W / 53.3495222°N 6.2472139°W / 53.3495222; -6.2472139