Posted on Wednesday 23 January 2019 by John Mulgrew
‘I’m going to work until the day I die’, says FinTrU founder and boss Darragh McCarthy.
In the handful of months since the Cork native featured in Ulster Business, his company has gone on to grow its workforce by more than 100 staff.
As a result, it’s hard to ignore his company’s stratospheric expansion in the space of just four years, along with the accolades he’s picked up along the way.
“FinTrU has probably transformed itself in the last 12 months from a presence in Northern Ireland, to being a much more established company,” Darragh told Ulster Business.
“It’s currently 330 employees, and a year ago it was probably half that.”
The former Morgan Stanley banker will grow FinTrU into a 1,000 person company, after announcing 600 new jobs across Belfast and its newly set up Londonderry office.
FinTrU works with some of the world’s largest tier one investment banks in areas such as regulation and legal services. It’s expanded from a small office on the Dublin Road in Belfast, to taking on an entire building at the Gasworks, with further plans for growth.
“We are now up-and-running in the North West. We have 35 people in there, and have our second academy, which will see another 20 in there in February. We are really going to try and grow that as quickly as we can.”
The first academy in Derry saw 370 applicants for just 20 places.
“That’s something that’s going to encourage us to keep on growing the business because, I think FinTrU is great, but we shouldn’t be getting that many applicants for every role we create.”
Part of the strength of his firm’s ability to recruit is its academy schemes, run alongside the Department for the Economy. That allows those with a degree in any discipline the ability to train for specific roles within the firm.
“We describe it as a the ‘FinTrU attitude test’ – do they have ambition with humility?” he says.
“I really love to find the people where the penny has dropped. For everybody, it is a different age. Some people have known from the age of two, or 32.
“But if you can find that right person at that right time in their lives where they want to develop professionally and prove themselves, they are wonderful and it’s exactly what our academy can capture.”
FinTrU already counts six tier one investment banks as its clients, with expectations of growing that to 10 over the next two or three months.
Darragh retired from Morgan Stanley in his late 30s and could have, essentially, retired at that stage.
But he says what kept him going and led him to setting up FinTrU was “making a difference in the world”.
“Leaving a legacy – I have a lot of energy and I need to do something. Unfortunately I’m not very good at tennis or golf. I happen to be good at business, and happen to have been granted the ability to run a business and grow a business.
“I just think there is a great opportunity to impact a lot of lives by creating employment, and I enjoy doing it.
“I think the way I am now, as I have grown older, I’ll work until the day I die. I just love working. I also love working with young people, starting their careers and developing, and if I can still teach them, and help them develop as professionals, that gives me a great sense of fulfilment.”
And entering the Northern Ireland business landscape, fresh, just a handful of years ago, he says he’s been welcomed by fellow entrepreneurial leaders.
His next step, he says, is pushing sustainability across the business – from the ground up.
“FinTrU is going to be much more vocal in trying to lead by example and encouraging companies to lead by example by taking decisions such as offsetting their carbon footprint or encouraging more people to use public transport – to be a positive contributing force to society.”