Business News

FS 50: Dermot Desmond, International Investment & Underwriting (IIU)

By Business & Finance
20 June 2012
Dermot Desmond

The man who wrote the original proposal for the establishment of an International Financial Services Centre in Dublin remains one its most respected and influential figures.

Dermot Desmond is chairman of International Investment & Underwriting (IIU), which he founded in 1995. IIU is a private company, operating from the International Financial Services Centre in Dublin, specialising in direct equity investment and underwriting, funds management and capital markets trading.

Desmond began his career in 1968 working for Citibank Dublin. Subsequently, he joined the Investment Bank of Ireland and then worked as a banking consultant for Coopers & Lybrand (now PWC) on a World Bank project in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1980.

In 1981, he founded National City Brokers (NCB) an interbank moneybroking company, which developed into Ireland’s leading independent stockbrokers. In 1994 he sold his stake to National Westminster Bank (now part of Royal Bank of Scotland).

In 1984, he founded Quay Financial Software, which grew out of NCB’s internal technology requirements. QFS was a financial software company which developed software for use in dealing rooms worldwide. QFS’s flagship product, InVision, sold to 150 banks in 45 countries around the world.

In 1985, he established Financial Courseware Limited, to develop training products for financial market professionals. Intuition, as the company is known today, is one of the world’s leading providers of technology-enabled learning to a broad range of markets.

Desmond promoted the establishment of a financial services centre in Dublin in 1986. Today, more than 500 companies trade from the IFSC.

In 1995, he founded International Investment & Underwriting (IIU), primarily his private investment vehicle. IIU holds substantial investments in 50 or so companies, across different industries worldwide. Current investments include, Sandy Lane Hotel Barbados; Celtic Football Club; Global Betting Exchange; Chronicle Bookmakers; Daon; QED; Mountain Province; Execujet; Barchester; Pacemetrics; Titanic Quarter Development in Belfast; Rietumu Bank in Riga; and a hotel development project in Canouan.

Previous high profile investments include, London City Airport; Baltimore Technologies plc; Esat Digifone; Vivas Healthcare; Pembroke Capital; and Today FM.

Desmond is chairman of ‘Respect’, a charity which was set up by the Daughters of Charity to raise funds to develop their services to people with a mental and physical disability.

Desmond is a board member of several companies, charities and educational bodies. He has received many awards and holds a number of honorary positions. He is a sports enthusiast and a keen golfer, who plays annually in the AT&T at Pebble Beach and in the Dunhill Pro-Am in Scotland.

Dermot Desmond will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Ireland Award at this years Business & Finance Awards in recognition of his vision and role in establishing the IFSC 25 years ago. The 2012 Awards will take place on Thursday, 13th December at The Convention Centre Dublin.