Posted on Tuesday 26 June 2012 by Ulster Business
Kevin Kometer, Senior Managing Director and Jamie Parisi, Chief Finanical Officer of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group, met First Minister Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry at Stormont.
The company, which operates commodity and derivatives market the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, already has 10 staff in place in the Belfast centre, which will provide software development to support its regional operations.
CME Group offers a wide range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agriculture commodities, metals, weather and real estate.
The US firm first announced its plans earlier this year, and has said that further expansion in Northern Ireland is planned in the future.
It is the latest addition to a growing cluster of financial and capital markets technology firms to set up shop in Northern Ireland, joining the likes of NYSE Euronext, CITI, First Derivatives, Fidessa and Allstate NI.
Like many of those firms, Kevin Kometer, Senior Managing Director and Chief Information Officer of CME Group, pointed to the skilled workforce as a key selling point of Northern Ireland.
“The availability of talented IT and financial services staff in Northern Ireland and the high quality, yet cost effective, business environment make this region very attractive to us. We’d like to thank the Ministers and Invest NI for their support and guidance during our decision making process,” he said.
Invest NI has offered up to £600,000 of Selective Financial Assistance to secure the jobs and up to £356,000 has been offered by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) under its Assured Skills training programme.
First Minister Peter Robinson said CME Group’s decision to establish its technology and support centre in Belfast was “a tremendous vote of confidence for Northern Ireland and testament to the reputation of our workforce among international players”.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster added that CME Group was “the kind of high quality inward investor” the Executive wanted to bring to Northern Ireland to help develop a “knowledge-based economy with long-term sustainability”.
While the financial services sector is regarded as having huge potential to drive local economic growth, there has been some concern that the labour market is already tight, with the supply of skilled IT professionals only just meeting demand from employers.
A report released last week by DEL recognised that if Northern Ireland is granted the power to lower its rate of corporation tax and this attracts in more big foreign direct investors, there could be a skills shortage in key disciplines, including computer and mathematical sciences.