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Meet a Member of the IOB Funds Advisory Board – Eoin FitzGerald

One year after he joined the Funds Advisory Board, Aoife Rooney caught up with Eoin FitzGerald to talk about this first year.

Name: Eoin FitzGerald

Job Title: Country Manager, Brown Brothers Harriman

Lives: In Cabinteely with wife, Orla and children Cian, Éanna and Siobhan.

Interests: Regular 5k runner, supports Liverpool FC

Something you would expect: Eoin has spent more than 30 years working in the funds industry.

Something that you wouldn’t expect: Eoin’s primary degree is in science.

How would you describe your first year on the Funds Advisory Board?

It’s been a hugely rewarding experience. Naturally, the pandemic has made this an unusual 12 months in terms of creating opportunities for learning but the team has still managed to deliver some really impactful sessions and I’m very happy to have been able to contribute to this.

Why did you decide to join the Funds Advisory Board?

I have been really fortunate to have had a great career thanks to the funds industry in Ireland. I really wanted an opportunity to give something back and so when Martina was looking for people to join her team, I didn't need to think about it for a second.

Why do you think that it was important that the Funds Advisory Board was established at this time?

The investment funds and asset management industry is going through a tremendous change in Ireland post Brexit, with over 100 new firms setting up in Ireland. Moreover, these firms are carrying on higher value activities than would have previously been the case in Ireland and so there is a great opportunity for “Ireland Inc” to move up the value chain in the funds and asset management industry. But all of this growth and opportunity is dependent on having skilled employees available to fill these new higher value roles and I believe that Funds by IoB has an important role to play in the development of these skills in Ireland.

Is this all about upskilling existing employees of this industry in Dublin?

No. There are tremendous opportunities for people from other sectors to transfer into this industry and there are lots of courses available to allow people to make that transition. And, as we know, this is an industry that has a presence in nearly every county in Ireland – Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick, Wexford, Galway and more. And I am personally passionate about the opportunities that this industry can create for people from all backgrounds.

What has been the most enjoyable part of working on the Funds Advisory Board?

This has been a great opportunity to work with really smart people from a range of different backgrounds - people from asset management, people from investment funds, people from training, people from education. Whenever you get an opportunity to join a diverse group like this you should always take it and I’m glad that I did.

Have there been any surprises?

I am pleasantly surprised to see how generous people are with their time and their talents when it comes to developing the funds and asset management industry in Ireland. We ran a master class on investment fund liquidity last year and we got a range of really high-quality speakers making themselves available to both prepare and deliver the master class. We had senior personnel from Regulators in Ireland and Europe, a leading UK asset manager, and other advisors all working to provide rich insights to our attendees in Ireland.

Will you stay on the funds Advisory Board forever?

Definitely not! I think it's important that any Advisory Board is constantly bringing in new talent and ideas. I'm very happy to have had a chance to make my contribution but I will be equally happy to step aside and let somebody with fresh ideas and a fresh perspective replace me in due course.

If you weren’t working in the funds industry, what would you be?

The answer to this has changed many times throughout my life. I really enjoyed completing a Master’s programme in UCD in 2018 and, if I won the National Lottery tomorrow, I would like to undertake further education in the areas of leadership and governance.

What achievement are you most proud of?

While not “my achievement”, I’m so proud of my 3 children. They impress me and surprise me more every day. They take after their mother.