ENOUGH ! CEO Welcome To The 4th ACOI Compliance In Finance Conference Dublin 22 November 2010
4th ACOI Compliance in Finance Conference 22 November 2010
Welcome by Martin Murray, Chief Executive Officer,
The Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland
ENOUGH, REMEMBER WHO WE ARE !
Your Excellencies , speakers, ladies and gentlemen,members and friends of
ACOI - welcome to the almost 300 people here today for the 4th ACOI
Compliance in Finance Conference in Dublin which is already recognised not
only as an European but as an International Conference as evidenced by our
Speaker Panel and the presence of friends from across the globe. Thank you for
being with us. May I take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Happy
Christmas and a Happy New Year. May I again take this opportunity to wish you
and yours a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year. ( you’ll forgive me but
given the current mood, I wanted an excuse to say the word “ Happy “ as we
Irish are generally , both in times of triumph and tribulation , a happy lot. )
Last night, as is healthy in a democracy, a small number of people strongly
expressed their serious unhappiness at recent developments.
As you may know, the ACOI Conference has a reputation for attracting the
highest level of global speaker. However, there is no truth to the rumour that we
have also invited a few other high profile international visitors recently arrived in
town to speak here today.
May I also give the disclaimer that what I am about to say is purely in a personal
capacity and is not the official view of ACOI, though perhaps it should be.
We are now in a historic time in a historic place facing historic challenges and
perhaps in our own way - we can –together- here -today make a little bit of history
ACOI is a young organisation , just 8 years old, representing the relatively new
profession of Compliance. With almost 1300 members, ACOI has valued
intellectual assets and we are above all a community of professionals working
together for the common good. Today I would like to talk a little about our
Compliance Community here in Ireland. Like any community, we live by core
values primarily based on our non lobbying and not for profit ethos. Through
education, skills development, selfless sharing of knowledge and experience
between members and with sector colleagues, and by simply being there, we
support each other both professionally and personally and reinforce the value of
strong Regulatory Compliance and Business Ethics in the financial services
industry in Ireland. Like the HR profession, there is a culture of camaraderie and
an instinctive desire to help. For example, today eight ACOI members
volunteered to help out with the Conference from 6.00 a.m. this morning, driving
from all regions of Ireland. You can appreciate the feeling of privilege I have to
work with such wonderful people.
Given the nature of compliance professionals, we work in an interconnected
industry and an example of Ireland’s global reach and willingness to engage with
international partners, is that tomorrow Compliance Association CEO's from the
US, Australia, Malaysia,South Africa and Ireland will have our first face-to face-
meeting here in Dublin to discuss how we may cooperate for the benefits of our
respective members and for the greater good of global society.
I would now like to share a few personal thoughts with you about the ‘ Elephant ‘
in the room today – the economic crisis in Ireland and how we Irish feel about it.
You must all have seen yesterday’s announcement that Ireland has reached
agreement with the EU institutions and the IMF. Hopefully this will bring a sense
of stability and closure to recent speculation about the future of Ireland.
May I ask you all to please stand !
Can you feel the firm ground beneath your feet. Less there be any doubt , Yes,
We are facing serious problems but Ireland has not fallen off the edge of a cliff –
we are still standing ! Thank you – Please sit.
The current crisis seems to have generated an unusually negative environment
which overshadows the true nature of Irish people which is positive and optimistic
based on concrete actions to move forward.
Frankly, I have had enough – yes enough- and most people I know have had
enough -of all this overwhelming negativity about Ireland ! Whilst fully accepting
the depth and gravity of the current crisis,for God’s sake, let us have some
balance when discussing Ireland. Has everyone forgotten the so many good
things about this country- what we’ve achieved – who we are –I don’t think so -
but much of that which is, and remains great about Ireland, is currently
overshadowed by a pervasive sense of doom and gloom. It is frustrating for Irish
people to read some of the extreme comments being made about Ireland.
As Irish people often say when overcoming problems with determination, ‘ if we
didn’t laugh,we’d cry ‘ but the key is to act. ! When someone you love becomes
sick, you make sure that she takes the necessary medicine, administered with
love, sometimes tough love, to ensure her recovery to full health. To help her
through the pain, you stay with her and support her unwaveringly at all times,
through thick and thin.
Ireland has been rightly criticised for the current economic mess , seriously
affecting many people who have lost jobs, closed businesses or emigrated
because of the crisis. Because of this, there are too many of our fellow citizens
now facing personal financial crisis and they are in our thoughts and prayers.
There is understandably much public anger. We Irish largely got ourselves into
this situation and largely we will have to get ourselves out of it. Fortunately
Ireland has many smart, capable, hardworking people and many friends around
the world who are happy to assist us. As you may know, there are 70 million
people of Irish origin globally but beyond this diaspora, there are many more ,of
no Irish origin, who are Hibernophiles ( from the Latin word for Ireland Hibernia),
loving all things Irish. Now, at a time of crisis both in finances and in confidence,
we should remember the words of the most famous Irish American , US president
John F. Kennedy when he said “ Ask not what your country can do for you but
rather what you can do for your country . We in the financial services industry will
do whatever is required to get our country back on track or as an Indian friend
recently said when I asked him about India ‘ Things are good, we are back to our
normal problems ‘.
Ireland too in time will be ' back to our normal problems ‘. As many of you know,
I have strong personal links with Asia . My favourite Japanese phrase is ' ishi no
ue ni mo san en - which really means that if you sit on a cold stone for three
years, it will eventually become warm.
ACOI, like any community , shares the human values of pride and love which
applies not only to our families ,friends and work but also to Ireland. In common
with other nationalities, Irish people love our mother country and it hurts us to see
her suffer right now as we remember all she has done for us and how deeply we
believe in her. Love between a citizen and your country is a very special thing-
like that of a good marriage or similar to the love between a parent and your child
or indeed that of old friends – it is unconditional and stays strong in sickness and
in health, in good times and in bad. This is how we Irish feel about Ireland.
Ireland with all its strengths ,faults and contradictions is where we chose to live
and want to be.
You know it’s funny what you remember from your childhood.
When I was a child in primary school in Cork,we were taught three principles of
living : 1. Mórtas Cine meaning pride of race. 2. Mórtas Aite meaning pride of
place and 3. A value mindset to engage the world with a ‘respect among equals’
philosophy. I have never forgotten this.
Like many Irish people, I have had the opportunity to work abroad and learn from
other cultures and decided to come back to Ireland wanting to raise my family
here with its great education system, quality healthcare and stunning nature.
Equally, the human values, friendly people, sense of importance of the family,
music, art, creativity, food, beautiful use of language , wicked sense of humour ,
intelligent debate, spontaneity and strength of character - and characters - all
drew me home. If Ireland is the Emerald Isle, then its true jewels are the people
of Ireland. Both at home and abroad, I have always been proud to be Irish and I
have had reason to thank God that I was born in Ireland.
When you look at recent international media coverage on Ireland, to be fair, some
has been reasonable, accurate and balanced but other coverage makes dramatic
reading bearing little relation with what is happening here on the ground. Some
articles are quite simply ‘ rubbish ‘ such as one that one that claimed Irish people
are afraid to put their children to bed at night due to worry that their children will
have no future in Ireland. Where does such nonsense come from ?
One article surprisingly suggested that the Irish apparently ‘ are undergoing an
identity crisis so viral and all-engulfing that we don't know who we are any more
‘ . To be honest, I don’t know a single Irish person who thinks like this – including
friends deeply affected by the crisis -and sadly the only things that seem to be
going viral now are negative articles on Ireland.
Who are I ? Me, I’m Martin, proud to say I’m Irish and love living in Ireland .
My father named after me after Mars,the Roman God of War because he wanted
his son to be strong- a warrior – who fights for what he believes in . Well, I fully
believe in and will continue to believe in this great little country of Ireland !
To remind both our foreign friends and perhaps ourselves of who we Irish are, I
would like to play the following video http://www.youtube.com/watch?
That excellent ad by DAA . Dublin Airport Authority perfectly captures how Ireland
is a small island in a big ocean but we're reached the world from here.
We Irish are committed Europeans and share a unique combination of a
Southern European style culture whilst being geographically located in Northern
Europe ,putting us in the position of being friends to all and facilitating
understanding between different perspectives.
Recently abroad, I was asked ,given the negative media coverage, if Ireland is
now helpless – yes helpless - do I look helpless ? - Is there any Irish person in
this room who would describe yourself as helpless ? For example, ACOI has
almost 1300 members and I genuinely cannot think of just one member even
bordering on being helpless !
Another asked if I am depressed to be living in a failed country full of failed
companies. Do I look depressed ? He was surprised when I told him that Irish
companies now employ more people in America than US companies employ
people in Ireland. Whilst accepting the fiscal failure, do the crowded city centres ,
the restaurants and pubs full of people, look like failure to you. How many Irish
people in this room feel a failure ?
The Celtic Tiger may have temporarily turned into a Paper Tiger but it is still a
Tiger. In 2010 , the Chinese year of the Tiger, we may have lost our right to roar
but our hidden strength essentially remains and adapting to the opportunity in
adversity, will become visible again in the coming years.
There are three types of people in this world :
1. those who make things happen
2. those who let things happen
3. and those who wonder what happened.
- Unfortunately, the latter two may have been dominant in recent years. As
the first type leaders from all parts of Irish society now come forward to
help us recover from this crisis, I am confident that we will re-emerge as a
nation with renewed strength and purpose and create a dynamic future for
our children in our beloved Ireland.
In conclusion, I ask for your active participation today and wish you a great
conference discussing matters of a global significance on this small island with
our speakers and friends from across a big ocean.
May I now hand you over to the Chairman of ACOI, Mr Aidan Conlon for his
introductory substantive remarks to formally open our Conference.