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Money Management

Hermes picks 2 to head Brexit-inspired office in Ireland

Hermes Investment Management appointed two senior executives to its new Ireland-domiciled management company, launched in response to the risks posed by the U.K.'s exit from the European Union.

Hermes Fund Managers Ireland Ltd. received Central Bank of Ireland authorization Dec. 11 as an Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities management company and as an alternative investment fund manager. It also has permission to provide individual portfolio management services.

A spokeswoman for Hermes said the Irish office is expected to be operational by March 29 — the date when the U.K. is set to leave the EU.

Carol Mahon was named head of Ireland, a newly created role. She will be responsible for the oversight, development and management of HFM Ireland and any branches in the European Economic Area. She will also work closely with Harriet Steel, head of business development at Hermes, as well as the teams responsible for sales, marketing, product, business development management, compliance and others. She reports to Ms. Steel.

Ms. Mahon joined from Fidelity International, where she was most recently CEO for FIL Life Insurance Ireland DAC, a Hermes news release said. Spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment.

Also appointed to the new company was Aoifinn Devitt as head of investment-Ireland. She will be responsible for the development and delivery of investment management oversight processes for HFM Ireland. She will also analyze, develop and implement investment management oversight processes and policies for Hermes' business developments and Irish regulatory requirements. She will report to Eoin Murray, head of investment at Hermes.

Ms. Devitt had been chief investment officer of the $2.6 billion Chicago Policemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund, Chicago. A spokesman said the fund has not determined what the replacement position will entail nor when it will be officially posted.

Both will be based in Dublin once the business is fully operational. The spokeswoman added that HFM Ireland will have six staffers in the Dublin office, and that Hermes expects the number of staff in Dublin to reach eight to 10 by the end of the year.

Hermes has been running a "Brexit Mitigation Project" based on the presumption of a so-called hard Brexit — the U.K. leaving without any transitional arrangements. The move is also part of Hermes' expansion plans in Europe.

"Since the referendum in 2016, we have always planned for a hard Brexit," Saker Nusseibeh, CEO at Hermes, said in the release. "We recognized early on that we had to make appropriate contingency plans in the absence of certainty, in order to ensure, to the extent possible, that we remain able to manage our clients' assets in line with their expectations of us."

The firm already runs money management and service provider relationships in Ireland. "Given this, and our European business growth, we have taken the Brexit opportunity to bolster our presence in Ireland with the establishment of a management company to lead the management of Hermes' European product offering and facilitate distribution to European clients."