International finance sector supports case for Centre for Financial Services Skills

The Federation of International Banks in Ireland (FIBI) came out strongly today in support of a call for Government to quickly proceed with plans to establish a Centre for Financial Services Skills. The Centre would produce top-level graduates with the appropriate skills set to help drive future growth in international financial services in Ireland.

According to the FIBI Chairman, Tony Golden (Managing Director, Citi Ireland), internationally-traded financial services will continue to be a strong growth story in Ireland despite the current challenging environment.

“Research recently undertaken for us by Amárach Research among chief executives and senior leaders across the sector revealed that, while 57% of them expect their company’s level of business to increase this year, they see the supply of people with the appropriate high level of skills as the single greatest challenge going forward.”

With an eye to the Government’s own strategy document, Building on Success, Golden believes that Government now needs to take a fast-track approach to education and training to meet the needs of the financial services sector. This should include the speedy establishment of a Centre for Financial Services Skills. He goes on to state: “We note recent media reports of the Government’s intention to invest an extra €400m in third-level research – thereby developing world-class research hubs and doubling the number of PhDs entering industry. We in FIBI are keen to work with all the relevant parties to make financial services a part of this initiative.”

Note to Journalists: The Federation of International Banks in Ireland (FIBI) is the representative voice for international banks in Ireland. FIBI is affiliated to the Irish Banking Federation (IBF), the leading representative body for the banking and financial services sector in Ireland, representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

Further Information: Felix O’Regan, Head of PR and Public Affairs, IBF, tel. 6715311, 087 6481644

Research shows consumers more risk averse as economy slows down

Research shows consumers have become more risk averse as economy slows down
Majority favour safe investment approach with lower returns over high risk/high returns
Friend/family member or financial adviser key influence on financial decision making
7 out of 10 consumers save on a regular basis
15% of individuals own property other than family home
Shift in property price perceptions
A new body of research, the IBF Personal Asset Profile, undertaken by Amárach Research and published today for the second consecutive year by the Irish Banking Federation (IBF), shows that consumers have become more risk averse as the economy slows down. The level of risk involved as a key factor in financial decision making has increased from 48% to 59% in the past twelve months. Not surprisingly, the research also shows a shift in property price perceptions: in early 2007 some 9% of people expected property prices to decrease; that figure has increased to 40%.

In-depth interviews with 800 adults throughout Ireland during March 2008 provide the definitive study of personal assets and consumer investment in the market place and give fresh insight into consumer attitudes to financial management and planning. The following are among the interesting findings to emerge from this second IBF Personal Asset Profile:

The three factors that determine which choices individuals make with regard to choosing a financial product in which to invest are: the level of risk involved; the level of return expected and a clear understanding of the product.
9 out of 10 consumers are savers/investors – 65% do so regularly, 12% do so regularly as well as by lump sum and 14% by lump sum only
Consumers are not doing enough to promote their own financial interests
34% do not regularly review the performance of their investment
33% do not know how their investments have performed in the past year
41% do not know the value of these assets
33% do not review rates paid on savings against other offerings
Consumers are not planning properly for the future
21% of consumers have nothing in place as a potential source of retirement income
78% have never made an Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC)
IBF’s Chief Executive, Pat Farrell, stated: “Individuals have clearly become more cautious in a more challenging economic environment. However, the good news is that the vast majority of people are saving and/or investing and this trend looks set to continue into the future. The research also shows that consumers like to be personally involved in financial decision making, which is important as it enables them to fully benefit from a competitive market place with greater choice.”

“The research again highlights the need for consumers to maximise their position by regularly monitoring their savings/investments and by properly planning for their retirement.” The complete results of the IBF Personal Asset Profile can be viewed at by clicking here.

Note to Journalists: Irish Banking Federation (IBF) is the leading representative body for the banking and financial services sector in Ireland, representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

Further Information: Felix O’Regan, Head of PR and Public Affairs, IBF, tel. 6715311, 087 6481644