Finance firm’s £14m boost to Belfast
A financial services company is to expand in Belfast with a £14m investment and the creation of over 160 jobs over the next two years.
Augentius was formed 10 years ago with offices in London and Guernsey and has since opened bases in New York, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Singapore and the Netherlands, administering tens of millions of pounds of private equity and property funds, for over 80 groups and more than 4,000 investors.
Invest NI has offered almost £3m to support its expansion in Northern Ireland, which will result in a ‘centre of excellence’ and salaries totalling £7m annually.
Alastair Hamilton (right), chief executive of Invest NI, said that the support offered would be justified by the financial benefit to the region, which won out over Canada, China, India, Dublin, and other UK cities.
“It does fall into the largest bracket of what we would offer companies , but when you look at the average salaries being offered by Augentius, which are in the region of £43,000, we have to incentivise a company like that to come here and yes, we did compete very hard to win this investment,” he said.
The firm, operating from an office in Arthur Street, has taken on 17 new staff in recent months, is expected to grow to 30 by the end of the year and reach 164 by 2014.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the investment, the first ever from a London-based fund administration company, further solidifies the area’s reputation as a financial services centre.
“In the past few years we have seen a cluster of companies locating in Northern Ireland, including the New York Stock Exchange, Citi, Chicago Mercantile and many more,” she said.
“Each announcement further cements our standing as a base for financial services companies and with each new company which comes here, confidence grows and other firms start to take notice.
“The Invest NI team are working hard to attract big names to these shores and as usual, our biggest selling point, as well as cost-effectiveness and a business-friendly atmosphere, is our people, their skills and their education and their loyalty.”
David Bailey, managing partner and one of the founders of Augentius, said that there are plenty of opportunities for staff.
“There are opportunities for everybody. University degrees are not essential. We take junior and part qualified accountants, sometimes from university, sometimes from vocational courses, we train them and we help them to obtain their professional qualifications.”
”We have people who joined us as trainees and are now fully qualified accountants responsible for their own teams and clients and I am very proud of this achievement.
“There will be no relocations, this is not a cost-cutting exercise or trying to do things on the cheap, this is about growing the company, increasing competitiveness and recruiting high quality staff.
“We are already very impressed with the quality of the staff we have working for us in Belfast and they work incredibly hard.”
The Augentius Fund Administration Group is a specialist fund administrator focused on the private equity and property fund sectors. It administers over $50bn of private equity and property funds from its offices in New York, London, Guernsey, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Mauritius, Singapore and Hong Kong. Other big financial names attracted here in recent months include Cowen International and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Legal firms Axiom, Allen and Overy and Herbert Smith have all also set up in Belfast.