On his visit to Northern Ireland last month the Chancellor of the Exchquer said this:
“Financial and business services across Northern Ireland employs about 33,000 people.
“Financial services in Northern Ireland is a very important part of the overall UK financial services business.”
In an interview with this newspaper during his tour of a Bombardier factory, Philip Hammond said that it was “all too often forgotten that financial services employment is spread right across the UK. The City, in quotes, is not just based in London.”
Mr Hammond described as “very vibrant” the financial services and fintech [financial technology] business sector in the Province.
As if to vindicate this upflifting (and, as he said, little heard) analysis, yesterday there was more good news on the services front when it was announced that up to 125 jobs are to be created in Belfast with the arrival of the international law firm Fieldfisher.
The company will recruit staff for legal and business support roles in its office.
The news was timely in light of good A-Level results that were released in Northern Ireland yesterday.
If it is really true that the Province has a good educational attainment compared to the rest of the United Kingdom, then we are ideally placed to accommodate these sorts of jobs.
And such employment is vital to stem the brain drain: if people feel that they can get meaningful jobs at home then many of them will stay and enjoy the high quality of life and lower living costs than they will find in parts of the nation with a booming economy such as the southeast of England.
Fieldfisher join Baker McKenzie and Allen and Overy and other successful firms that have support offices here.
The major law firms are providing many hundreds of jobs that complement other flourishing aspects of business such as the cyber technology companies in the Titanic Quarter.