Interview with Isabelle Porte, Country Head and Managing Director of CACEIS Bank, Ireland Branch.
CACEIS was set up in Ireland in 2001. Can you give us a brief presentation of its activities?
We have two separate legal entities, CACEIS Bank, Ireland Branch, the Custodian and Depositary, and CACEIS Ireland Limited, the Administrator. Both entities are approved and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. We offer a full range of services including depositary, custody, fund accounting, financial reporting and shareholder services to UCITS and AIFs (Hedge funds and Private Equity and Real Estate) and Offshore funds. We also provide access to our Dealing Room services, Clearing and Execution and Share Class Hedging services.
I joined CACEIS in Ireland in 2002 and we have grown the business significantly during this period, including an acquisition of Olympia Capital in 2008, which further developed our alternative fund services capabilities. We now have in excess of 100 staff in our Dublin office.
How is CACEIS positioned in the Irish Asset Servicing Market?
In Ireland, we pride ourselves on being client focussed and having a team with a deep knowledge of the Industry. We service a broad range of fund types and legal structures including ICAVs, PLCs, Unit Trusts and limited partnerships. We have an excellent management team and staff who have been with us for many years with plenty of experience in the Irish market. We are a multi-cultural and multi-lingual team, which is very important when you are dealing with clients originating from multiple geographies.
In Ireland, we service mainly Irish domiciled funds but also support some offshore funds for global investment managers.
We are currently a top 12 player with big ambitions for the future targeting a top 10 spot!
With the backing of both Crédit Agricole and Santander Bank, we are well positioned to capture further growth expected in Ireland and opportunities arising from existing Group relationships.
The presence of Crédit Agricole in Ireland has expanded in the last few years with the acquisition of Pioneer and KBI by Amundi. The whole Group employs more than 600 people in Ireland which demonstrates the strategic importance given to Ireland by Crédit Agricole.
What type of Funds do you support?
We support a wide variety of fund structures and strategies in the UCITS and alternative space. We have focussed recently on growing our Private Equity and Real Estate funds (PERES). With interest rates at historic lows, we fully expect to see more activity in the Real Estate Assets space as fund managers look to allocate their capital in 2021.
Can you tell us about the teams at CACEIS in Ireland and what is different about them?
Our office is in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in central Dublin. Firstly, I think it is important to explain we run an onshore service model in Ireland. We offer a very different service model to the industrialised offshore scale model, which has become much more typical from our competitors over the last years. This means our “on the ground” teams are local industry experts, who can deal with all business questions and requirements locally.
At the core of our service delivery are high levels of service and satisfaction with a client partnership approach. We know what it is like to start a business. We like to share that knowledge and accompany our clients in their growth journey particularly in the current evolving regulatory landscape.
You mention a particularly promising year 2021 in Ireland, why?
A much-anticipated development in Ireland is the amended Investment Limited Partnerships (ILP) Bill 2020. The updated ILPs can offer limited liability to investors, authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, as well as beneficial tax treatment of assets depending on the structure of the fund. The Irish government’s finance strategy is to make Ireland a more attractive domicile for private equity funds. Now enacted, ILPs will be the preferred vehicle for investment in property, energy, infrastructure, private equity and private debt.
The Irish Funds Industry Association announced on 17th December 2020 that the IPL legislation was passed and it is expected that 3,000 new jobs will be created by 2025 while attracting up to €20bn per annum in global private capital. This development is key for the future growth of our activities.
You participated in a webinar on governance with Funds Europe on 19th November 2020. How was it received?
The market feedback has been great. I was delighted that we had nearly 400 registrations from across the globe, which I believe showed the strong interest not just in CACEIS but also on the topic of Governance. We hosted the Webinar with Funds Europe to present the results of a survey on fund governance conducted earlier in 2020. This also coincided with the publication by the Central Bank of Ireland on 20th October of its findings from the thematic review of the implementation of the Central Bank’s guidance on Fund Management Companies’ governance. The subsequent panel discussion was led by Kevin Mullen from the Central Bank , Amundi, Tobam as well as the Management Company, KBA. It proved to be an informative and animated discussion.
Governance is a key topic for our Industry and the steps taken by the Central Bank demonstrate the commitment of the Central Bank to providing a framework of robust governance. This will position Ireland well for future expansion.
What are the Strategic Objectives of CACEIS in Ireland for 2021?
Our principal goal is to contribute to the growth and sustainability targets of the CACEIS Group by providing strong client support and constantly improving and broadening our service range.
We already have a healthy business pipeline so I predict 2021 will be a year of further growth and success for CACEIS in Ireland. There are a number of important areas of fund regulation that will develop in 2021 such as ‘CP86’/ Governance, ESG requirements, the International Limited Partnerships and the UK leaving the EU on 31st December 2020. In addition, I think we will see an appetite for fund strategies with diversification into Real Estate Assets and ETFs, which are key strategic objectives for CACEIS.
Ireland is the domicile of choice for ETFs in Europe with a 55% market share and in 2020 has seen investors turning increasingly to this asset class. In challenging market conditions, the product has shown resilience and good performance.
Recognising the importance and growing demand for this asset class, the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has engaged this year with ETF providers and Irish ETFs to get a deeper understanding of ETFs and their performance in challenging market conditions. The CBI is also following the work of IOSCO closely. We expect passive ETFs to continue to lead the way into 2021 but we know that European Regulators are watching closely what is happening in the US in order to adapt their policies.
Ireland is the place to be right now! The Irish Fund Industry goes from strength to strength as the second largest fund domicile in Europe with €5.2 trillion in assets under management and over 7,700 funds.
Ireland remains a key domicile for CACEIS Group and we are proud to play an important role in its continued growth.
To learn more about our services and capabilities in Ireland please contact Paddy Walsh, Managing Director de CACEIS Ireland Limited, Nick Oakden, Business Development Director, UK and Ireland, or me, Isabelle Porte. We would be delighted to answer any questions you may have.