The New York Stock Exchange decision to create 400 hi-tech jobs in Northern Ireland is one of the biggest US investments in Europe this year.
The Wall Street financial giant yesterday unveiled plans to expand its outpost in Belfast aimed at providing software services to money markets around the globe.
The groundbreaking venture was hailed in a high profile launch at Stormont where the plan was welcomed as an endorsement of the region's economy and a symbolic vote of confidence in the peace process.
NYSE chief executive Duncan Niederauer joined Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to unveil the project.
The US business leader said the skills-base of the region's workforce, plus the personal relationship struck up with Stormont leaders, proved crucial in clinching the deal which comes 18 months after the NYSE bought a Belfast software firm.
Mr Robinson said: “Today's announcement that NYSE Euronext intends to expand its operations and staff in Belfast is yet another positive step forward by Invest NI in the growth of our local financial services sector, particularly at a time when global competition for such investment has never been higher.”
Mr McGuinness agreed that local talent had been crucial and he also praised the role of successive US administrations in fostering economic growth to support the political process.
“This investment represents one of the largest investments by a US company in Europe this year,” he said.
“It will also send a clear message to other potential investors when such a high profile institution decides to invest here.”
Invest Northern Ireland will provide up to £9.6 million to support the move of NYSE Technologies business operations into a new state-of-the-art development facility in 2010.
Using the city centre's Adelaide Exchange building as its base, the venture will create up to 400 technology, operational and corporate jobs over the next two to four years.
The New York corporation's NYSE Euronext company said it recognised its operation in Belfast as a centre of excellence for the delivery of innovative technology solutions to serve its expanding global client base.
The NYSE group had already acquired Wombat Financial Software in Belfast and at the time Mr Niederauer said the city had a rich pool of technology talent among its workforce.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “Having met with the company in New York in December, and more recently in Belfast, I am delighted to see this latest project come to fruition today.”
Mr Niederauer said: “Northern Ireland will become increasingly important to our global growth strategy and complement our technology centres in Paris and London.
“Together, these centres of excellence will enable us to effectively address the growing technology and trading needs of our customers and our company.”
Mr Niederauer later said: “I am happy to report that you can count on us to be an active participant in the Northern Ireland business community and hopefully accept a good example for other companies to come behind us.”
Stanley Young, chief executive officer of NYSE Technologies and co-global chief information officer of NYSE Euronext, added: “Our operation in Belfast has exceeded expectations for the delivery of advanced software solutions for our global clients.
“The calibre of people, combined with Invest NI's support and the growing financial services and ICT sectors, fits extremely well with our business objectives.”