Investment continues to flow from New York to Belfast despite the heavy toll of coronavirus, as the city's state pension fund pledged another $30m to support business here.
New York State Comptroller Thomas P DiNapoli, who manages the fund, announced the funding boost at the New York-New Belfast Conference, which was broadcast on YouTube.
And Peta Conn, executive vice president and head of Americas at Invest NI in North America, also revealed three firms in the US are currently eyeing up investment opportunities in Northern Ireland. In May, Boston-based cyber-security specialist Cygilant announced 65 new jobs here.
Two companies on the east coast and one on the west coast are looking at setting up here, she revealed.
"We hope we would be able to announce those in the next quarter," Ms Conn said. "The team is actively engaging in reaching out to US companies to see if Northern Ireland is a match for their international expansion vision."
And Mr DiNapoli also announced the New York State pension fund would plough another $30m into the economy - matching an earlier investment.
Mairtin O Muilleoir, former Sinn Fein MLA and Finance Minister, whose business Aisling Events organised Friday's conference, welcomed the Comptroller's investment.
Mr O Muilleoir said: “When you think how bleak the economic environment is, I thought it was very uplifting for people like him to say at a time like this that he remains committed to Northern Ireland at a time when he could otherwise be retreating.”
It comes as Invest NI today announces that remote learning firm Firefly Learning Ltd is creating 52 new jobs here.
However, Invest NI said it could not give further details on the pending investments from the North American companies.
A spokesman for New York State’s pension fund — known as the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF) — confirmed it’s in the process of finalising a $30m commitment through a global private equity manager.
57 Stars will manage an account seeking private equity fund managers and co-investments in Northern Ireland, part of a larger $100m commitment to Emerging Europe.
The spokesman said: “While the markets have been volatile of late, the overall strength of the pension fund allows Comptroller DiNapoli to pursue a diversified strategy that seeks best-in-class opportunities in all geographies, including Northern Ireland and other non-traditional European markets.
Some examples of other pension fund investments in Northern Ireland include new technology firms through Crescent Capital, as well as more traditional industrial and business services companies through Kernel Capital.
The targets are generally growth-oriented companies seeking to expand in Northern Ireland. CRF has also invested in health care services through a co-investment alongside 57 Stars.”