FD Technologies boss says group has benefitted from Dublin's post-Brexit financial services boom

Seamus Keating, chief executive of FD Technologies.

THE head of Newry-headquartered data group FD Technologies has said the post-Brexit growth of Dublin’s financial services sector has benefited its business.

Seamus Keating said Dublin had “taken a good share” of the US and European banks, who have moved some services away from London to other cities inside the EU.

“I think Dublin has maybe taken a bigger slice of that than most of the others,” said the chief executive.

EY's Financial Services Brexit Tracker confirms Dublin has been the big winner since the EU referendum, with 36 firms relocating UK operations to the city.

Announcing its annual results on Tuesday, FD Technologies said it recruited 500 staff in the past year, taking its workforce to 3,000.

Mr Keating said the vast majority of its graduate intake has been on the island of Ireland.

“The Dublin market, the consulting business, was one of our highest growth markets for us last year,” he said.

The comments came as the London-listed company announced an 11 per cent rise in its annual revenues to £263.5 million for the year ending February 2022.

Formerly known as First Derivatives, the London-listed company last year rebranded and restructured into three distinct businesses: KX, First Derivative and MRP.

The year of restructuring hasn’t been strictly plain sailing, with the group’s share price hitting a six-year low in February this year.

But a significant partnership announced between Microsoft and its real-time data analytics business KX, followed by the group confirming it had hit its annual targets in recent weeks, helped the share price recover in recent times.

The share price surged again on Tuesday after FD Technologies forecast its revenues will hit £290-£300m in the current year.

“It was a big bold strategy that we laid out, and we’ve had to work very hard to make progress,” said Seamus Keating.

“But I think investors are gradually seeing increasing evidence, and the Microsoft arrangement was part of that.”

Pre-tax profits did drop by 19 per cent to £9m last year, as the group heavily invested in research and development and bore higher costs.

But the strong outlook, particularly within the KX division, has caught the markets’ attention.

FD Technologies has forecast its KX business will generate 35-40 per cent growth in its annual recurring revenue in 2023.

“I think that’s what’s making people stand up and think there’s a little traction here,” said the chief executive.

“That traction is coming from the Microsoft partnership and all those things increase our confidence, increase our profile in the market.”

The chief executive said the group has also resumed its traditional programme of bringing new recruits to spend a period of time living and working in Newry.

“We have been back doing that as quickly as we could last year,” he said.

“It’s great to have 40 or 50 new joiners turn up in Newry.”

Mr Keating said the group had adopted a new flexible working policy typical of the tech sector.

“I think we’re gradually settling into something that is working well for everyone.”

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