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Chairman Liam Quirke Appointed as Head of Specialist Brexit Advisory Group Matheson hosts Dublin Chamber of Commerce Brexit Briefing

AUTHORs: Michael Jackson Services: Brexit DATE: 04/10/2016

With Theresa May’s announcement that the Government will trigger Article 50 by March 2017, Head of the Matheson Brexit Advisory Group and firm Chairman Liam Quirke says Government and other stakeholders must work together to eliminate barriers to entry for UK-based multinationals and key personnel considering relocating to Ireland

  • Regulatory authorisation procedures and tax considerations are key
  • Recent CFA report finds Dublin in second place, behind Frankfurt, to benefit as a post-Brexit financial services centre
  • Quirke appointed to head up specialist Brexit Advisory Group with Corporate Partner Éanna Mellett relocating to London

Ireland needs to eliminate barriers to entry for UK-based multinationals and key personnel considering relocating to Ireland, according to Liam Quirke, head of the Matheson Brexit Advisory Group.

Mr Quirke called for the Government and other business stakeholders to work together to ensure that Ireland is the best country in the EU to do business for UK-based multinationals considering moving some or all of their operations to Ireland in the wake of the British referendum. “Providing an optimal business environment to compete internationally for this investment is essential in view of the positive economic and employment opportunities presented for Ireland.

The FDI sector has been a key contributor to Ireland’s economic development and growth over the years, providing employment for over 174,000 people directly and an estimated 122,000 indirectly. IDA client-companies export over €124.5bn in goods and services.

“We have an opportunity now to grow this further. The vote for Brexit presents Ireland with the most important FDI opportunity in decades”, commented Mr Quirke. A recent survey of 2,000 investment professionals by the CFA Institute - the global association of investment professionals - found that 62% believe Dublin will benefit as a financial services centre from the Brexit result. The report found that 80% believe London will lose out.

Already, some UK-based multinationals have signalled their willingness to consider relocating to Ireland if the UK opts out of particular EU regulations and loses access to the EU Single Market which has been suggested. With Theresa May’s announcement yesterday that the UK intends to trigger Article 50 by March 2017, we need to deliver on our commitment to be the best country in the EU to do business,” said Mr Quirke.

“In practice this means ensuring that the conditions for establishing businesses in Ireland and attracting the necessary talent to run those businesses are the most favourable in the EU.  For example, the first question we are asked by most of the financial services companies considering the possibility of relocating UK-based business to Ireland relates to the length of time to authorisation in Ireland, and how it compares against other jurisdictions. It is critical that we can deliver on their reasonable expectations while always maintaining the robust regulatory standards which attract such business to Ireland in the first place. We need to ensure that our regulators continue to be appropriately resourced. We also need to recognise that financial services business looking to relocate from the UK have been authorised and operated in accordance with EU rules by one of the world’s leading regulators, and Irish regulatory authorities must take this into account when looking at the processes and procedures involved in applying for and granting authorisation in Ireland.”

“A more favourable personal tax regime is required to encourage talented people to relocate to Ireland. Irish personal taxation rates exceed those in the UK. This needs to be addressed if we are to fully capitalise on Brexit opportunities. Some simple changes to our SARP regime could go a long way to help companies attract the people they need to run their businesses in Ireland.”   
“Domestically, the reality of the post-Brexit business environment is a concern. There is a demand among Irish business for clarity on Brexit implications, and this has become a top priority in recent weeks,” noted Mr Quirke.

Mr Éanna Mellett, Partner in the Corporate Department at Matheson has been appointed as Resident Counsel in Matheson’s London office and has relocated to London. Mr Mellett noted that “While Matheson has had an office in London for over 25 years, this is one of the most interesting and exciting times to be based in the City. It is clear from the enquiries and instructions that the firm has received since the Brexit referendum that the current uncertainty and the impending implementation of Brexit has created increased demand for advice about establishing and conducting business in Ireland. I look forward to working closely with UK and Irish-based clients in assessing the impact of developments on their business models and legal structures, and to helping them implement changes required to reflect the new business realities.”

Commenting today, Mr Michael Jackson, Managing Partner, Matheson said:

“Brexit creates both challenges and opportunities for Ireland. Matheson’s history of being the Irish law firm with an international focus and client base means that we are ideally positioned to help clients understand and address those challenges and avail of those opportunities. Notwithstanding the relative calm in the markets since the Brexit vote following an initial sharp correction, the UK Government’s announcement that it intends to trigger Article 50 by March 2017 will serve to highlight the fact that the real political and economic challenges presented by the referendum result have yet to be faced. In a time of increasing uncertainty, the initial task for the Matheson Brexit team will be to assist financial institutions and internationally focused businesses to identify the wide range of legal questions and issues that arise during and as a result of negotiations between the British Government and Brussels, and assess their effects on business. The inevitable gradual disapplication of some EU-based regulations in the UK will have real impact on business and business models both in the UK and in Ireland. Liam and Éanna will lead a strong team of diligent and experienced Matheson advisors with the legal skills and knowledge necessary to navigate our clients through these uncharted waters.”

Pictured above from left to right: Pat Cox, Former President European Parliament; Michael Jackson, Managing Partner; Eanna Mellett, Corporate Partner; Liam Quirke, Partnership Chairman.