Press Release 27 Mar 2017

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD today, announced that the Lafferty Group is to locate key educational and publishing activities for the global banking industry in Westport, Co Mayo creating around 40 jobs over the next 3 years, with the support of IDA Ireland. The Lafferty Group is a London-based banking education, research and publishing company established over thirty years ago by Roscommon native, Michael Lafferty.

The Westport activities will include the research and content division of the International Academy of Retail Banking (IARB), a new Lafferty business that began its international roll-out last year. The IARB has clients in over twenty countries.

The Academy has been designed by an international group of senior retail bankers to provide professional education programmes and examinations for the retail banking sector as well as acting as an international professional body for retail bankers.

The worldwide content for the Academy programmes will be researched and developed in the Westport office.

The Academy is governed by a global advisory board of senior retail bankers and academics. Its academic director is Professor Abdul Rahman, Professor of Finance at the University of Ottawa in Canada. It is co-chaired by Dick Harryvan, former CEO of international retail bank ING Direct and Michael Lafferty, Chairman of the Lafferty Group.

The Academy faculty is drawn mainly from the ranks of current and former retail bankers, card and payments executives, as well as from academia across the globe. The Academy provides education through classroom tuition within individual banks, mainly in the English language. It also provides open courses attended by executives from multiple banks.

The Academy expects to be accredited by the UK’s Chartered Banker Institute, the oldest banking institute in the world and by national educational regulators in Singapore, South Africa and other countries in which it will run programmes.

The Academy programmes and qualifications will have a broadly similar structure to the education systems of the Irish and UK accounting bodies and will combine work experience, classroom study and examinations.

Making the announcement the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said: “This announcement by the Lafferty Group is great news for Mayo and for the Western region. The region offers excellent opportunities to companies locating here. Our talented and flexible workforce, which is of particular interest to service providers, is one of the many strengths that makes Ireland’s offering unique.”

Michael Lafferty, Chairman of the Lafferty Group and Co-Chair of the Academy said: “The growing consensus on both sides of the Atlantic that universal banking is a failed concept has been a powerful force driving establishment of the Academy. We believe that retail banking is rapidly becoming a distinct sector in its own right and that it is fundamentally different from corporate and other forms of wholesale banking.”

“Specialist retail banking education is not provided anywhere in the world – despite the fact that retail banking is the main source of bank profits. The IARB has been created in the belief that retail banking should be a profession, like accountancy and law and offers similar professional education programmes and examinations. The guiding philosophy of the IARB is that banks should get away from pushing products at customers and instead focus on the overall customer relationship.”

Welcoming the move to Westport, Mary Buckley, Head of Regional Development, IDA Ireland said: “IDA Ireland looks forward to working with the Lafferty Group as it grows its business from Ireland.”

Recruitment enquiries should be made to:

For further information contact:
Evelyn Hunter-Jordan: +44 (0) 20 3008 5283, +44 (0) 77 2524 3821;
Roy Dooney: +353 (1) 230 1815, +353 (0) 87 241 4165
IDA Ireland – Gillian Kelly, Regional Press and PR Executive - +353 (0) 87 1789893


About retail banking

Retail banking is the business of providing financial services to individuals, households and small and micro enterprises. These typically include deposits, loans like mortgages and auto finance, payments including credit, debit, prepaid cards and other financial products.

About the Lafferty Group
Michael Lafferty was born in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon and educated at St Nathy’s College in the town. He emigrated to London in 1968, trained as an accountant and became of member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

He joined the Financial Times as a reporter, later became accountancy and banking correspondent and a member of the paper’s LEX commentary team. He was awarded the Wincott Foundation’s Young Financial Journalist of the Year Prize in 1977.

He left the Financial Times in 1981 to launch an international newsletter on retail banking. The newsletter was very successful and was followed by further specialist newsletters, reports and conferences around the world.

The Lafferty Group operates two other core businesses in London – Councils and Research databases. Councils are confidential peer groups where senior banking executives meet every six months to share best practices and brainstorm the future. Research databases – which now range across the fields of retail banking, credit cards, consumer finance, household financial assets and e-money – are online research tools containing standardised data and analysis on some 70 countries.

In 2010 the group took another major step forward with the launch of Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF), a business serving the worldwide central banking and sovereign funds community. Activities range for plenary meetings hosted by central banks, public lectures by Governors and ministers, conferences in partnership with central banks, economist club meetings in central banks and research and publications.

The first OMFIF plenary meeting was hosted by Deutsche Bundesbank in March 2010 and it was here that the decision to launch the International Academy of Retail Banking was taken following comments during the meeting by a series of central bank governors about the need to professionalise the retail banking sector. Similar sentiments had been expressed by senior retail bankers for many years at Lafferty Council meetings and conferences around the world.


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