10 innovative organisations pushing the boundaries of fintech

23 Oct 2015

A fintech revolution is underway and Ireland is in the eye of the storm in terms of new jobs in analytics and R&D. Here's 10 of the best.

A fintech revolution is underway and Ireland is in the eye of the storm, with organisations across the country investing in data analytics and cutting-edge R&D to bring you the fintech products of the future.


Earlier this week, we published a list of some of the individuals influencing fintech in Ireland. Today, we provide you with a sampling of the innovative organisations driving change in finance and technology products worldwide from these very shores.

From start-ups to multinationals, as many as 5,000 new jobs could be created in the Irish fintech sector by 2020, a recent report from Deloitte predicted.

Fintech is one dimension of an already thriving financial services sector in Ireland, where today more than 35,000 people are employed in IFSC-licensed companies the length and breadth of the country.

Here’s a selection of 10 organisations pushing the boundaries of fintech as we know it, including both multinationals and a number of homegrown indigenous firms.

1. Accenture

Accenture’s commitment to fintech in Ireland goes well beyond its highly-succesful fintech accelerator for start-ups. In September, the company announced that it is hiring 200 people as part of a €25m investment in a new centre for innovation. The centre will include a new Accenture Technology Lab that will focus on identifying and scaling innovative solutions based on new and emerging technologies. “Ireland has become a technology hub in Europe and is a rich source of highly-skilled talent in science, technology and engineering. Given this, Dublin is the perfect location for our new Centre for Innovation,” Jo Deblaere, Accenture’s COO and chief executive in Europe, said at the time.

Accenture country manager Alastair Blair said that Accenture, which employs more than 1,800 people today, has been steadily increasing its investments in Ireland, including the creation of the Accenture Analytics Innovation Centre in Dublin, which will now serve as the cornerstone for the Centre for Innovation.

2. Fidelity Investments

In 2013, IDA Ireland revealed Fidelity Investments was to create 200 new jobs in Dublin and Galway involving a diverse mix of technology, back office operations and enterprise services skills. This was followed up a year later in December 2014 with news of 200 further roles at the company’s Dublin offices.

The American company originally set up operations in Ireland in 1996, with encouragement from IDA Ireland, and Fidelity Investments now has offices in Dublin and Galway. Since 2012, the firm’s presence has grown significantly, with confirmation of further plans to grow its Irish operations to more than 900 employees in the future.

In an interview with Siliconrepublic.com, Stephen Ashmore, senior vice president and head of Technology Services at Fidelity Investments, explained that innovation is in Fidelity’s DNA – Fidelity was the first financial services firm to use the 1800 number to sell to customers and it was the first financial services firm to establish a web page in 1995.

Ashmore said ideas that work are those that have delivering business value at their core. This he said transcends the entire culture at Fidelity and everyone is encouraged to pitch in with ideas.

Ideas range from small ideas that lead to daily improvements at Fidelity to big-vision ideas that could result in new products and services, which involve a lot more complexity, time, effort and funding.

Fidelity operates the Fidelity Centre for Applied Ideas to incubate ideas and bring them to prototype stage. The company can also call on locations around the world, its graduate intake programme, as well as interns who get the opportunity to work on exciting projects.

“The end result has to be the implementation and unlocking the business value.


IFDS, formerly known as State Street, is a leading global provider of outsourcing and technology solutions to the collective investment, retirement, insurance, and platform markets. “Information and technology underpins everything we do at IFDS,” the company’s global CIO Simon Moorhead told Siliconrepublic.com recently. “It supports our daily delivery of service to our customers, the change and functionality that’s supported by our application software, and all of the supporting tooling that helps a 6,000-person organisation to run.”

IFDS is in expansion mode in Dublin and in April announced 75 new roles as the company celebrated its 20th year in Europe.

Already employing more than 550 people in Ireland, IFDS has been a heavy recruiter in recent years. Its Irish operation employed just 125 people in 2007, while its overall European staffing levels have increased from 1,600 to 5,000 in the last decade.

4. Fenergo

Headed by Marc Murphy, Fenergo is on a mission to set the industry standard in fintech. During the summer, the company completed the biggest investment round by an Irish company to date, raising €75m from Insight Venture Partners, with plans to launch an IPO within three years. The company, which specialises in providing Client Lifecycle Management software, will use the new capital to grow its global footprint and expand its presence in new and existing markets.

Fenergo also intends to create a new partner ecosystem, which includes a Fenergo University and consulting accreditation programme, to implement its technology. Headquartered in Dublin, the company has recently expanded globally to include offices in London, New York, Boston, Sydney and Wroclaw.

5. Realex

Realex was acquired this year by Global Payments for €115m. Realex was founded in 2000 when founder Colm Lyon took the advice of his neighbour, prominent businessman John Teeling, to wait until he was at least 38 to start his business.

Funded by a Business Expansion Scheme (BES), Lyon established Realex Payments to provide electronic payment processing for internet companies and retailers. The company’s first client was DirectSki.com.

Today, Realex processes over €28bn worth of payments a year on behalf of 12,500 clients around the world.

The company employs 200 people in Dublin, London and Paris, and has more than 3,500 clients across Europe, including AA, Virgin Atlantic, Paddy Power , The AA, Vodafone and Aer Lingus, as well as a number of major gaming companies, such as Party Poker.

6. Pramerica

Pramerica is a business and technology operations provider that employs 1,200 people in Letterkenny, Co Donegal. The company was established in Letterkenny in 2000.

Pramerica provides a complete range of development, QA and systems engineering services to parent company Prudential Financial Inc, and provides business solutions to Prudential’s business groups across the US.

Guided by the leadership of Caroline Faulkner, in July Pramerica announced 330 new jobs, which will include senior IT managers, project managers, business analysts, data scientists, actuaries, accountants and a wide range of technology support and professional services roles.

7. Citi

In 2009, financial powerhouse Citi, which has more than 200m customers worldwide, revealed plans to invest €24m in a new R&D operation in Dublin that will unleash future generations of banking and payment technologies and experiences.

The $24m investment in Citi’s Global Research, Development, Innovation and Learning (RDIL) Centre, supported by Government through IDA Ireland, is designed to unleash the next wave of financial products and solutions for the financial services industry, specifically a next-generation intelligent payments solution.

This is just one of a number of investments by Citi that brings the company’s investments in Ireland to in excess of $100m.

It followed this up with further job creation projects in Dublin and Waterford that includes roles in operations, technology, funds and product development.

Last year Citi announced 400 new jobs in Belfast as part of a £54m investment.

8. Deloitte

A report by Deloitte in March estimated that some 5,000 jobs could be created in Ireland by fintech companies over the next five years. The accounting giant has been steadily expanding its footprint in Ireland.  In May 2013, the company revealed the creation of 177 jobs over the next three years at its Belfast Technology Studio, on the back of a £1.2m investment from Invest NI in the studio’s expansion; many of the jobs will have an emphasis on data analytics. In the Republic of Ireland, the company is creating 400 new jobs countrywide. Deloitte has said that the roles on offer for applicants are wide-ranging but particularly focused on fintech and big data analytics.

9. MasterCard

The majority of MasterCard’s global R&D takes place in Dublin. This is due to the acquisition by MasterCard in 2008 of an Irish technology company headed by Garry Lyons called Orbiscom for $100m. Today, Lyons is chief innovation officer and head of MasterCard Labs. Lyons runs the card giant’s global R&D arm dedicated to bringing innovative payment solutions to market with greater speed than ever before. From its global R&D HQ, MasterCard runs a 12-month long accelerator programme for fintech start-ups, opening up the company’s research labs and getting the start-ups to work closely with strategic partners including ASOS and Capital One.

10. TransferMate

Barry Dowling co-founded TransferMate in 2010 with Sinead Fitzmaurice and Terry Clune.

Launched in 2010, Transfermate is one of the world’s largest and most well-established foreign exchange brokers. The group employs 80 staff and now has offices in Ireland, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

The fintech company created 25 positions in its Kilkenny office earlier this year, which brought the number of people employed in Ireland by Transfermate to 130 and globally brought the figure to 150.

Fintech Focus is a week of fresh fintech-focused content hosted on Siliconrepublic.com from 19 to 23 October. Stay up to date with the latest stories by subscribing to our news alerts, or follow the hashtag#FintechFocus from @siliconrepublic on Twitter.

10 image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years