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Northern Trust management discuss regulation of funds with Michael Noonan Back
Clive Bellows, country head of Northern Trust in Ireland, attends a celebration of the expansion and refurbishment of Northern Trust’s office in Limerick with a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Following the ceremony, Northern Trust’s Irish management hold a closed meeting with Noonan where they discuss their recommendations on a number of regulatory issues affecting Ireland – such as the approach of the Central Bank to the regulation of funds and fund service providers and the gold plating of European anti-money laundering legislation.
6:50 a.m. The voice on the other side of the phone tells me “this is your wake-up call”. I’m at the Strand Hotel in Limerick, my favourite hotel in the city, in a room overlooking the river. I’m going to be based in our Limerick office today where we will celebrate the expansion and refurbishment of our office with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

7:00 a.m. Wherever possible, I try to fit in a workout first thing and so, checking my Blackberry for any urgent messages which have come through overnight, I head down to the hotel gym. I arrived in Shannon later than anticipated last night as our flight from London (where I had been for the previous day meeting some of our clients) was delayed. This, coupled by the fact that it’s Friday and the end of a productive week, means I am running a little slower than usual on the treadmill, but I push on and complete a healthy and invigorating 5k run.

8:00 a.m. A taxi arrives to take me and three of my colleagues also attending the event today to our offices in Plassey. Catherine Duffy, general manager for the Limerick office, is there to greet us and offers us some tea and coffee in the cafeteria before showing us proudly around the expanded and refurbished offices, which include 100 additional desks, a new client boardroom and reception area. We first opened our offices in Limerick in 2007, with 19 people. Now we employ 270 and are currently actively recruiting for 30 roles as we strive to reach our target to have in excess of 300 people in the office by the end of 2012. As I walk around the offices today and the preparations commence for our ribbon cutting ceremony, I’m immensely proud of this growth and our investment in the region.

9:00 a.m. With around 800 staff in Ireland, we are Northern Trust’s third largest jurisdiction outside the United States, and a centre of excellence for fund administration and cross border pooling solutions. Ensuring we are actively engaged with industry bodies and take a keen interest in issues affecting the funds industry in Ireland is important to our continuing development in the region and so I take the opportunity while in Limerick to meet Janet Meehan, Ireland project manager, about how we can continue to develop our strong relationship with IDA Ireland.

09:30 a.m. As a result of our acquisition of Bank of Ireland Securities Services last year, our 450 Dublin employees are located in two offices about ten minutes walk from each other. We are working to consolidate our operations into one office by the end of the year and have already gone some way to achieving this, with employees from our trustee/depository, legal and new business teams now working alongside each other at our Townsend office. This morning I have a telephone meeting with Mary Stone, our head of finance, during which we discuss our plans to expand our floor space at this location, and continue to build our footprint in Dublin.

10:00 a.m. I join a conference call hosted by our events team to discuss the Fund Forum Conference taking place in Monaco during the summer where Northern Trust will be exhibiting. The call is an opportunity to discuss action points for all attendees and our plans to differentiate ourselves and attract potential clients.

10:30 a.m. I have an hour to check my emails, go over my speech notes ahead of the event, and prepare for meeting the Minister. I also use the opportunity to grab a quick cup of coffee from our staff cafeteria and speak to a few employees.

11:30 a.m. Guests have started to arrive for today’s ribbon cutting event. I make my way to the boardroom and talk to representatives from the IDA, University of Limerick and The Limerick Chamber of Commerce, all of whom we work closely with. We have also invited representatives from our audit firms and I just have time to greet them before I am called away to give some interviews to selected local media who have gathered in our reception area. The press then turn their questions to Minister Noonan who arrives just after midday.

12:00 p.m. Following brief speeches from myself and Minister Noonan, Catherine Duffy and I, accompanied by our legal counsel, Patrick Wilkinson, and our global head of product and strategy, Paul Fahey, leave the event for a closed meeting with the Minister. We see a number of regulatory issues affecting Ireland – such as the approach of the Central Bank to the regulation of funds and fund service providers and the gold plating of European anti-money laundering legislation. We discuss our recommendations with the Minister before proceeding back to the event, where the Minister speaks to attendees at our event, including some of our employees who were part of the original 19 we employed when the office first opened.
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14:00 p.m. Filled with lunchtime canapes, I head back to my office where I join an internal conference call on the topic of “US firms with European distribution”. Our offices in Ireland support organisations such as leading alternative, multi-manager and traditional investment managers, pension funds, multi-nationals, insurance companies and not for profit organisations across the globe. Our products and services, particularly our newly acquired and award-winning ETF administration capabilities, are backed by the strength of our global and established footprint, and this call is about how we leverage that global strength, with our local expertise.

14:30 p.m. The day is steaming ahead and I just have time to make a phone call to check in with one of our global fund manager clients who is looking to expand their distribution in Asia. With markets like Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore as their primary focus, we are working on growing our support in the region for local distributors and fund platforms. Our client is reassured that we are in discussions with multiple clients on this theme and we conclude our call by agreeing to meet during my forthcoming visit to Hong Kong.

15:00 p.m. I say my goodbyes to the team here in Limerick as I prepare to catch the 4 p.m. train home to Dublin. I use the time on the train to catch up on my emails and action any urgent items, before taking some time to read my book.

18:20 p.m. I arrive at Heuston station and make my way home to Greystones. I’m greeted by my wife Lynn, five year old daughter Pippa and the black and white dog Ted. It’s been a long day and it’s good to be back home. Tomorrow I am flying to Hong Kong to attend the Fund Forum Asia conference and so I use the opportunity to spend some well-deserved quality time having a Guinness and dinner with my family at our favourite restaurant, the Hungry Monk.
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