Aperture Partners was delighted to host an audience of 100+ business leaders for a panel discussion earlier this week at the Stephens Green Hibernian Club.

It was “standing room only” as the topic, ‘Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times’, was hotly debated by our panellists – Eoghan Murphy TD (Minister of State for Financial Services), John McGrane (Director General, British Irish Chamber of Commerce), Ken Owens (Head of Brexit Group, PwC) and Danny McCoy (CEO, IBEC) and Head of Aperture Partners Legal & Regulatory, Barry Crushell who moderated the discussion.

Over the course of the hour-long discussion, even with differing opinions on certain topics, a number of key themes were common across all panellists.

1. Never let a good crisis go to waste
With the ongoing fall-out of significant macro events in 2016 (Brexit and US presidential election), and a number of European political elections on the horizon in 2017, Ireland must not let opportunity slip. The feedback panellists have been hearing internationally is that Ireland is being seen as a safe haven for international business in Europe and must continue to capitalise upon this.

2. Infrastructure will enable growth
Dublin has seen significant construction activity in the past five years, primarily commercial office space. This has allayed the initial concerns of domestic and international corporates. The next concern highlighted is where their people are going to live and how they will get to work. Improved road and interconnected rail networks, as well as an additional runway at Dublin airport were cited as critical public investments required.

3. Regional opportunities
With 30% of Financial Services jobs currently outside of Dublin, it is anticipated that roles transitioned into Dublin from UK and elsewhere will land in regional hubs such as Galway and Cork where others have previously established operations.

4. Don’t be complacent
If a company is to exit the UK, it may also mean that a company will exit Europe. It has been taken for granted that when leaving the UK that a company must set up operations elsewhere in Europe. Some may decide to exit the European market completely with a view to running global operations in US or elsewhere. Also, it is likely that the first step in movement of headcount will be a review of vacant office space elsewhere in a corporate group. If capacity is in Paris or Frankfurt and not Dublin, the natural first move will not be Ireland.

5. Team Ireland
It has become evident Ireland is marketing itself with more intent than any other EU state. Ireland’s commitment to the EU is unquestioned. The ongoing roadshow by government and Irish corporate has been noted by international press and business groups and is proving quite beneficial in the attraction of new market entrants in every regulated industry.

We would like to acknowledge and thank each of the panellists for their time and insightful contributions. We look forward to seeing many of you again at our next thought leadership event in May.