FinTrU the 'fourth child' of founder Darragh

FinTrU founder, Darragh McCarthy
Gareth McKeown

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Gala Awards take place on 25 October. This year, five Northern Ireland-based entrepreneurs are listed as finalists. Over the course of the coming weeks we will be profiling each of them. This week's profile is Darragh McCarthy, founder and CEO of award-winning financial services company FinTrU.

Darragh McCarthy is a finalist in this year's Emerging category of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme. Having grown up as a son of a cattle dealer in west Cork in the 1970/80s, Darragh thought there had to be an easier way to make money, so was drawn to global financial markets and sought a career in London following his degree in BCOMM International (German) at University College Dublin. He started at Morgan Stanley in 1994, where he remained until late 2012 and held various responsibilities including COO for Institutional Securities, COO for EMEA, head of fixed income sales North America and head of fixed income sales EMEA. During his time at Morgan Stanley, Darragh was based in London, Frankfurt and New York.

Darragh founded FinTrU in 2013 with the aim of creating high-quality professional employment on the island of Ireland. During his time at Morgan Stanley, Darragh recognised the increasing demand from global investment banks for high-quality resources to navigate the ever-increasing regulatory landscape.

Darragh is married with three children and lives in Belfast. Katrien, his wife, is the FinTrU chief of staff and his business partner. Darragh's children have christened FinTrU “the fourth child”.

Describe your business model. What makes your business unique?

Our business model looks to leverage well-educated talent in Ireland to provide high-quality resourcing solutions to global investment banks, grappling to deal with the expanded scope of financial regulations. FinTrU's uniqueness stems from our culture which is encapsulated by our four values; “partnership, passion, people and professionalism.”

What was your "back-to-the-wall" moment and how did you overcome it?

I had a partner when setting up FinTrU and he failed to deliver his support as promised in the initial months. This made me refocus on prioritising business development and FinTrU becoming more independent. I thankfully subsequently bought out the partner's share in the business.

How are international political developments such as Donald Trump's presidency and tax reform along with Brexit impacting on your business?

US tax reform has limited impact on our business, but Brexit has indirectly been a major boost as many of our clients look to relocate processes and services from the City of London. I also believe that potential “over-heating” demand for financial services in Dublin will also bolster the industry in Belfast given the geographical proximity.

Based on your experience are the banks in Ireland open for business?

Whilst I can't comment on Irish banks given I am based in Northern Ireland, I do not find that banks in general understand the pressures of setting up a business and how valuable cash flow is. I appreciate that the new regulatory regime makes it hard for banks to be flexible with entrepreneurial businesses, but an ability to have a relationship with a bank manager who understands that entrepreneurs need greater flexibility than larger companies is currently lacking.

Who has been the greatest influence on your career or who do you admire most in business?

My wife. Katrien is my university sweetheart and my business partner at FinTrU, where she serves as chief of staff. She supported me through my 'big bank' career at Morgan Stanley and strongly encouraged me to pursue my dreams in creating FinTrU.

What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?

If you want to be an entrepreneur, just do it. Do not wait around for the lightbulb moment, but do find a client. The idea will follow.

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