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Ambassador’s Message
Irish Funds Industry Association Visits Seoul
Irish Pianist Finghin Collins to Return to South Korea
Special Contribution
By Eamonn McKee
Irish Ambassador to Seoul
Irish pianist Finghin Collins

Dear Editor,

Mary and I were delighted to welcome some 30 guests to the residence for a dinner in honour of the visit of the Irish Funds Industry Association to Seoul last Wednesday.

The delegation from the Funds Association was headed by the Chairman of the Irish Financial Services Centre, former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) John Bruton, and Gary Palmer, CEO of the Association.

Aside from the eight visitors, the other guests included leading figures from business and financial services here in Seoul.

Combined with this event, a breakfast seminar with the Seoul Finance Forum and an afternoon conference hosted by Korea Financial Investment Assocation (KOFIA), the visit was very productive and opportunities for collaboration were identified on a number of fronts.

Irish financial services have grown enormously since their inception over twenty-five years ago and they have weathered well the turmoil in the international financial system since 2007.

Well over €1 trillion in funds are under management from Dublin and the sector employs some 30,000. Dublin has over one thousand financial services entities; eight of the top ten global fund administrators have operations in Dublin; 43% of the world’s hedge funds are service from Ireland; and we have fifty of the world’s leading banks located there.

The financial services sector in Korea has been identified as a growth area given the strength and sophistication of its economy and its location at the heart of Asia. Indeed, KOFIA’s launch of its new Korea Institute for Financial Investment (the occasion of the joint seminar), is designed to educate and train those looking to build careers in Korea’s financial services sector.

Of course, financial services labour under some scrutiny at the moment but the reality is that money needs to be managed to provide returns, generate investment and provide liquidity. These companies and countries that offer prudent, ethical and safe management vehicles for savings and capital will prosper.

Needless to say, given Asia’s emergence as a centre of gravity for global economic growth, investment funds sourced in Asia are vast and growing. By forging relationships with key institutions and players in Seoul’s financial services, we are helping to build a platform for Ireland’s sustained growth and status globally in this important sector.

On a cultural note, I am happy to tell you that the great Irish pianist Finghin Collins (www.finghincollins.com) is returning to Seoul for a series of concerts with the cellist Han-na Chang.

I attended one of Finghin’s performances when he was here last in November 2009. His virtuosity and musicality were amazing. He is well worth going to see if you have the chance. This time their programme includes the beautiful but technically demanding Rachmaninov cello sonata. He andHan-Na Chang will repeat this same programme in London, Dublin, Genoa and Bologna in April 2012.

Have a good weekend,

Best wishes,
Eamonn McKee
Ambassador



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