* New applications can expect "rigorous process" - regulator
* Several have entered pre-application, application phase
* Irish financial sector set to grow, possibly significantly
(Adds detail on applicant firms, ECB view)
By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN, Dec 1 Ireland's central bank is not
seeking to dissuade financial firms from moving investment
banking or trading operations to Dublin as a result of Brexit
and is receiving applications from a range of sectors, its head
of regulation said on Thursday.
Banking sources told Reuters last week the central bank had
signalled to several large investment banks considering a move
from London after Britain leaves the EU that it would be
reluctant to host large trading operations.
"I want to be clear: we do not have such a position. We have
not sought to dissuade any such entities from seeking
authorisation nor are we planning to do so," Cyril Roux said in
"Such applicants, of course, like any other applicant, can
expect a rigorous process."
Roux said there was no need for extra caution because the
risk appetite for such trading activities was set by the
European Central Bank - supervisor for the largest banks in the
euro zone - which has given "zero indication" that it opposes
high-risk trading moving to a small city like Dublin.
Dublin, which is already one of the world's largest centres
for fund administration and has a growing financial technology
and insurance presence, is competing with cities such as
Amsterdam, Paris, Luxembourg and Frankfurt to gain from
potential Brexit-related moves.
Roux said the bank had seen a material increase in queries
from UK-authorised entities, several of which had moved into the
pre-application or application phase, meaning the Irish
financial sector was set to grow, quite possibly significantly.
Enquiries have come "throughout the spectrum" of sectors, he
said, naming insurance, payments institutions, firms authorised
by MIFID (markets in financial instruments directive) and CSD
(central securities depositories).
Roux expects applications to continue in the coming months
as companies prepare for the possibility of a loss of
passporting rights into the EU, a system that lets them operate
across the bloc but under the supervision of just one regulator.
Ireland's financial services minister told Reuters last week
that some firms making applications would also be waiting to see
if there was any further clarity on the terms of Brexit before
making any final decision to move.
Roux reiterated that any firm seeking a licence to set up in
Ireland would have to have a substantive presence in the
country, something major firms understood but others seeking to
"nail a brass plate, rent a room and still keep doing everything
from the UK" did not.
"We have to tell them it's not going to happen," Roux said
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by David Evans and Jane