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American tech firms set to open up offices in Belfast

By Margaret Canning

Published 09/06/2015

Northern Ireland is gaining a reputation for its strength in the financial technology sector
Northern Ireland is gaining a reputation for its strength in the financial technology sector

Two new US financial technology firms are to set up in Belfast, drawn by Northern Ireland's growing reputation as a centre for the sector, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

New York-based Hanweck Associates and Cantor Fitzgerald spin-off Lucera are both establishing offices in Belfast, following in the footsteps of other big companies in the sector like Fidessa, Citigroup and Wombat - which was later bought by NYSE Euronext.

First Derivatives, which was set up in Newry and remains based there, is the province’s biggest fintech success story and employs around 1,200 people.

Hanweck Associates has already set up an office in Belfast’s Fountain Street and established a Northern Ireland company with directors Michael Hollingsworth and Gerald Hanweck.

Ex-First Derivatives’ financial engineer Peter Durkan is on the executive team of Lucera. No-one was available for comment at the companies yesterday.

And Invest NI, which provides financial support to foreign direct investors and has targeted fintech firms, said it did not comment on “speculation”. But the agency did say that fintech was a growing sector in Northern Ireland.

The agency said Northern Ireland’s fintech cluster now employed 3,500 people throughout 25 companies.

“The sector is growing in confidence and continues to develop new capabilities through investment by locally owned and international companies. Significantly, fDi Markets, a service from The Financial Times, ranked Belfast as the Number 1 city globally for FinTech investment.”

And a spokeswoman said companies that were setting up here were endorsing the province’s “skilled workforce, infrastructure, competitive cost base and the strength of our universities and research base”.

Danny Moore, the chief operating officer of London-based fintech firm Options, which already has a base in Belfast, said the arrival of Lucera and Hanweck in Belfast was “hugely exciting”.

News of the firms’ arrival comes as Belfast prepares to host twin conferences celebrating the world of international technology, MoneyConf

and EnterConf.

The events are a spin-out from the renowned Web Summit in Dublin, and are sponsored by the Belfast Telegraph. On Friday, June 12, the

Belfast Telegraph publishes a supplement (right) previewing all the events over the two day conferences on Monday, June 15, and Tuesday, June 16.

Belfast Telegraph

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