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Magazine Issues » May 2022

Association column: It’s all about the people

Pat_LardnerIreland is working to expand the talent pool available to the country’s €4 trillion funds industry, says Pat Lardner of Irish Funds.

The terrible events in Ukraine continue to cast a pall over Europe, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who are fighting for their survival and/or separated from loved ones. Ultimately, it’s all about people.

Amid this, other topics seem inconsequential, yet change, progress, leadership and positive momentum around the people in our industry is important. We are focusing on building capability, concentrating on areas we can directly influence and which will have a big bearing on the future success of the investors we serve. These are variously initiatives which link talent, education and inclusiveness. 

In supporting our members and the industry more broadly to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion we are delighted to announce the upcoming launch of Ireland’s Women in Finance Charter. This is a commitment by signatory firms and representative bodies to achieve greater gender balance and inclusivity at all levels across the financial services sector. 

As a shared initiative between industry and government it’s another indication of the joined-up approach in Ireland. Fostering and harnessing the talent and experience of all women in financial services is crucial in expanding and deepening our pipeline of talent. Greater diversity of thought, experience and leadership styles in decision-making processes, will provide economic benefits to the continually growing funds and asset management community here and in wider society. 

Elsewhere, we are finalising two skills assessments/inventories which will ensure the industry is prepared for the needs of the future, in sustainable finance and information technology. By providing our members, industry partners and stakeholders in government with clear requirements around training and skills for roles at different seniority levels, we are further expanding the talent and capability base which, at the end of 2021, was supporting the €4 trillion of assets in Irish-domiciled funds. While we already have significant leadership in areas like ETFs (reflected in the 80% share of 2021 ETF net sales and Ireland’s 66% share of European-domiciled ETF assets), we are broadening our capabilities for tomorrow’s needs. With the introduction of university-accredited postgraduate training for Designated Persons in Management Companies, augmented by masterclasses and networking forums, we are also enabling “skills communities” to grow and develop, something which is also supporting the talent pipeline. 

Through recent and forthcoming in-person events, we are supporting engagement between member firms, business partners and other important stakeholders. The incredibly positive reaction and feedback to being “in-person” once again has highlighted that critical part of our role as an enabler for the formal and informal interactions that build and maintain trust. We are really excited that our Annual Global Funds Conference will take place in-person on Tuesday, May 31 at the Convention Centre in Dublin, with senior industry, policy and regulatory leaders travelling to be with us. This year’s theme is ‘Resilience, Emergence and Growth’ and has our people at its core. Hopefully, we will see you there!

Pat Lardner is Irish Funds’ chief executive officer

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