Irish Funds, the representative fund industry body in Ireland, recognised the need to inform and build awareness of the industry’s impact at home. Indecon International Research Economists (Indecon) was commissioned to independently assess the economic impact of the funds industry on the Irish economy and the report was published in May 2019. The findings are overwhelmingly positive.

Economic contribution and regional spread of economic activity

It is estimated that €9.27 billion in revenue was generated directly by the Irish investment funds industry in 2018. The report also notes the wider economic impacts arising through the expenditures of fund industry enterprises in the Irish economy. When direct and indirect impacts were taken into account, the overall contribution to economic output was estimated at over €14 billion.

An important finding was that the economic activity and employment in the investment funds industry is spread across Ireland, highlighting clusters in regional areas outside of Dublin, including Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny, Wexford and four other counties. This shows that the funds industry is having a positive impact all over Ireland, not just in Dublin.

The sector also provides a very significant tax return to the Irish Exchequer, contributing over €0.8 billion each year in direct tax returns.

Employment

As of December 2018, over 150 companies employed 16,003 full-time personnel in investment funds-related activities in Ireland, making the funds industry a substantial employer. This includes people employed in fund administration, depositary services, investment/asset management and audit, tax or legal services.

During 2018, the funds industry spent just under €1.5 billion on wages and salaries for funds industry-related staff.

Sustained growth

The report also shows a sustained upward trend since 2008 of the number of funds under administration in Ireland, growing by 28.2%. At the end of 2018, 7,290 (52.4%) of the funds under administration were Irish-domiciled, while 6,624 (47.6%) were non-Irish domiciled.

Most notably, the value of funds under administration in Ireland has grown by over 200% since 2008 to over €4.2 trillion by the end of 2018.

Furthermore, Ireland accounts for 59% of European ETF (exchange traded funds) assets and regularly attracts more than 50% of the net sales into European ETFs.

Future outlook

On average, it is estimated that business volumes could expand by approximately 22-28% over the next 5 years. If these growth predictions materialise, the number of people employed in the funds sector will increase from 16,003 to 19,783 by 2023.

To ensure this material growth occurs, efforts should continue by all participants in the funds sector so as to build on Ireland’s reputation and its competitive advantage as a key funds domicile.

Conclusion

Indecon’s report is a clear indicator that further growth is possible and the impending enactment of legislation aimed at revamping the law applying to investment limited partnerships, presents yet another opportunity for Ireland to flourish in the investment funds space.