US finance firm in jobs boost at city's new tech hub
The head of an American finance company planning a new base in Belfast with the potential to create 50 jobs has said that the changing global perception of Northern Ireland could open further opportunities.
Cowen International Ltd has announced it is to set up a technology research and development centre at the Scottish Provident buildings in Donegall Square East.
The firm is a subsidiary of financial services giant Cowen Group, headquartered in New York and founded in 1918.
The Northern Ireland hub will provide technology and global support services to Cowen operations and will be responsible for developing new technologies.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the project could create up to 50 jobs "which will pay salaries more than double the private sector average and will contribute more than £2m a year to the economy".
Jeff Solomon, chief executive officer of Cowen -amp; Company, said that he had been impressed with his first visit to Northern Ireland following seven months of negotiations with Invest NI, which offered £500,000 of support.
The Department for Employment and Learning has also offered £175,800 of support under its Assured Skills Programme.
"We are already in the US and have a number of global locations and had been looking in various places in the UK but the standard of the workforce and the quality of the graduates coming from the universities in Northern Ireland impressed us," he said.
"Invest NI have been wonderful and if things go well here we will not have to look for anywhere else.
"My two days in Belfast have been fantastic and the city is on a path to greater things. The perception of years past will quickly be forgotten and hopefully more businesses will see what a remarkable place this is."
Arlene Foster said that more and more firms are discovering the opportunities available in Northern Ireland.
"We have now seen a cluster of legal, financial and technology companies deciding to locate in Northern Ireland over recent months," she said.
Over the last seven days, US-owned legal services firm Axiom and US pharmacy chain CVS Caremark have announced plans to create up to 160 jobs in Northern Ireland.
Lisburn engineering business Kelvatek is also planning an expansion with 60 new posts.
The annual amount the project could contribute to the economy