US finance giant set to open new office in Belfast
A HUGE American financial company is to open a new office in Belfast within months.
The NASDAQ listed CME Group owns and operates large derivatives and futures exchanges in Chicago and New York and hosts other online trading platforms.
It is not yet known how many jobs will be created by the move but a spokesman for the company said that all the staff would be recruited locally.
The corporation was formed by the 2007 merger of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT).
It currently has offices in London, Singapore, Tokyo and Sao Paolo.
The move follows the decision of part of a New York stock exchange company to open an office in Belfast in 2010.
NYSE Technologies is the technology arm of NYSE Euronext and employs around 400 people in Adelaide Street.
Allan Schoenberg, a spokesman for the company said that while he could not confirm staffing levels or location, the office would be open at the end of the quarter, or late March.
"We plan to open an office in Belfast at the end of the first quarter," he said.
"It will house IT staff who will be supplying services for the back-office functions of the business.
"I cannot give any information on staffing numbers or the location of the office but I can say that all the staff will be recruited locally from Northern Ireland."
Mr Schoenberg added that a number of global locations were being looked at as a location but that Northern Ireland and Belfast came top of the pile due to the quality of its people.
"We did look at several different places which I am not at liberty to name, but Belfast has a highly skilled IT workforce and that is why the company made the decision to locate there."
The First and deputy First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness are known to have visited the Chicago Mercantile Exchange offices on their recent trip to the USA in September 2011.
At the time of Robinson and McGuinness' trip to the US, the CME Group confirmed that it was visited by the duo, but said that visits from 'dignitaries' were frequent and that they had no plans to open a new office in Northern Ireland.
Year of merger which formed the NASDAQ listed CME group