A lobby group representing Ireland's financial services sector has called on the government to establish a physical centre for fintech firms.
The chairman of Financial Services Ireland (FSI), Joe Heneghan, made the comments at the association's annual dinner.
“As consumer appetite for digital services continues to grow, every firm operating in financial services is now a fintech firm," said Heneghan. "Ireland can be at the forefront of fintech, and we believe that establishing a dedicated physical space will be a pivotal part of that."
According to Heneghan, such a fintech hub should be a "vibrant centre for innovation, collaboration, and growth, open to everybody in the industry" and serve as a "tangible, bustling ecosystem" where fintechs, industry incumbents and regulators can "exchange ideas".
Above all though, said Heneghan, the hub would "deliver jobs, growth and investment for Ireland".
The FSI has also welcomed the recent announcement by the Central Bank of Ireland that it will establish a regulatory sandbox. Such a move would "represent a 'level shift' in the financial services industry, enabling more flexibility for firms to experiment in a safe space", he said.
The call from the FSI comes amid a decline in funding for Irish fintechs. A KPMG report showed a reduction in fintech funding in the first half of 2023, which it put down to rising interest rates, inflation and geopolitical tensions.
The FSI has also been one of the loudest voices calling for more state support for the fintech sector. A survey issued by the association in September fiound that 72% of respondents said there was not enough funding for innovation while 64% said there was not enough for growth.
While it remains to be seen if a national fintech hub will be established in Ireland, a number of banks and asset servicers have announded plans to develop their own. For example, in May, BNY Mellon stated it would invest €8 million in the creation of a digital R&D hub in Dublin that will focus on AI and data analytics for the US bank's global client base.