New head of finance body's Belfast office 'delighted' with role
A financial services industry body has announced it is setting up a base in Belfast.
TheCityUK has appointed its first city chair for Belfast.
Leigh Meyer, Belfast managing director at Citi, will be a key "figurehead for TheCityUK, championing the industry's considerable local contribution".
"Northern Ireland is recognised for its excellence across a number of key financial sectors, including legal services, financial services and information technology," a spokesman added.
"As well being an important centre for middle and back-office financial services activities, its fintech sector is especially strong."
The majority of people working in the Northern Ireland financial services industry are based in Belfast, with financial and related professional services contributing 11.4% of the city's gross value added in 2015.
Mr Meyer said: "I'm delighted to be taking up this position and look forward to seeing what can be achieved over the next year.
"Northern Ireland is a great place to do business. The talent pool, proximity to London and strong network of relationships we have here help us to produce award-winning, client-driven technologies and service solutions."
Miles Celic, chief executive officer of TheCityUK, added: "Our industry is a major employer and contributor to the economy of towns and cities right across the country, with more than two-thirds of the 2.2 million people employed nationally based outside London.
"The appointment of Leigh Meyer as TheCityUK's city chair in Belfast will support our work to champion the industry in Northern Ireland.
"It will also help build valuable partnerships to ensure the industry's success into the future.
"In Belfast alone, financial and related professional services account for almost one in 10 jobs, yet all too often the industry is seen as London-centric.
"I'm delighted that Leigh has accepted this position and will look forward to working closely with him as he heads up this work in Belfast and Northern Ireland."
Northern Ireland's financial sector has grown over the last few years.
This includes the expansion of firms such as Citi, which employs more than 2,000 staff.
Belfast financial firm FinTru is also aiming to grow into a global outsourcing giant employing 1,000 staff, which is five times its current workforce.
FinTru founder and chief executive Darragh McCarthy said his company had doubled its workforce each year since it was formed in 2014.
Financial and professional services in Northern Ireland account for 32,000 jobs, contributing £1.9bn to the local economy, according to a report from TheCityUK earlier this year.
It said that while London was the core of the UK's financial services industry, Belfast was a major contributor.
The financial industry lobby group said Belfast alone had 18,000 people who were working in the financial and professional services.
Meanwhile, a new report has revealed firms in the Square Mile in London are planning to shift 10,500 jobs out of the UK by the first day of Brexit as the economic reality of the vote begins to bite.
EY's Brexit Tracker, which monitors 222 financial services firms, showed that banks, asset managers and brokers were expecting client-facing and front-office roles to leave.