Kroll Bond Ratings Agency is one of the latest financial services firms to have chosen Dublin as its European base. It marks the company's first international office - with 100 people set to be employed here over the next three years.

The firm already employs around 275 people in a number of offices around the US and according to Mauricio Noé, Head of Europe at KBRA, the company was formed out of a belief that ratings agencies could do a better job. "We were started after the crisis and really our founder, Jules Kroll -  who is known in the investigative world in the US and globally - decided that the big agencies had got off fairly lightly during the crisis," he said.

"Some believed they were culpable or had some degree of culpability during the crisis, so the feeling was that if a new agency came along and did things a little differently, and was a little bit more transparent and was a little bit more responsive to investors and to the issuers of debt then perhaps we could change the way the industry operated," Mr Noé said. 


Of course the big three of Fitch, Standard & Poor's and Moody's are very well-established already - with offices dotted around the world. In terms of European operations, those firms are currently based in London but Mr Noé says that a number of factors - including Brexit - led KBRA to look elsewhere when finding a home on this side of the Atlantic. 

"I can only comment on the lot we were handed, but Brexit was an influencing factor," he said. "But many factors, such as the IDA and other people that assisted us and made it easy for us, made us decide that it wasn't worth taking a risk on London and that, actually, Dublin is a very good alternative and is maybe better in some ways."

However Mr Noé accepts that the presence of the "Big Three" in London means there is a pool of talent there as well - though he wonders if that might change in the near future. "How long that lasts for we don't know and I think that the coming months and the flavour of Brexit that the British government introduces will determine that," he says. Regardless, he says it has been "so far, so good" on the hiring front in Dublin, with the company able to fill the positions it has had to date even if the number of applicants may be slightly lower than what might be seen in London. Most of the hiring has been done locally, though some searching overseas has also formed part of the hiring process.

Mr Noé said that attracting talent from abroad has not been problematic so far - despite the well-flagged issues around the cost of housing and relatively high personal taxation. He jokes that weather is the one issue raised most often, but adds that in reality - like everywhere - it is family links that often make people hesitant to move. "We're fairly aggressively targeting the Irish diaspora in London and New York - particularly people with Irish girlfriends or wives - to see whether they would come back home, come to Dublin and actually it's proven to be very successful," he said.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Germany's ThyssenKrupp and India's Tata Steel have agreed to merge their European steel operations. The two companies hope to finalise the deal in 2018, creating a group with €15 billion in sales. They expect annual savings of between €400-600  and are likely to cut 4,000 jobs in production and administration as part of the tie up.

*** Only one fifth of employers have a strategy for wellbeing in the workplace - according to a new survey by Ibec - despite the vast majority saying the issue was important or very important to them. Almost half of employers do not have any strategy around employee wellbeing, though two thirds expect to increase investment in the area in the next five years. To help that Ibec has launched a new KeepWell mark - which will give accreditation to firms for their well-being practices.

*** This morning has seen a relatively mixed start to trading in Europe's markets, with just the FTSE in London seeing any real positive movement in early trade. It is up 0.1% in early trade - boosted by better-than-expected half year results from DIY group Kingfisher. It owns the Screwfix and B&Q brands, and made an underlying pretax profit of £440m in the six months to the end of July. Shares in Diageo are down, however, after the drinks company said it expected sales to be hit by the timing of Chinese New Year and a ban on selling alcohol along highways in India.