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An Interview with Derek Collins – Irish Banking Leader and Albany Beck Board Member

Derek Collins is a huge name in the Irish Financial Services industry. Having worked across Bank of Ireland’s retail and corporate operations, he went on to lead its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) team in his long and successful career with them. Now he’s putting that experience to good use as a non-executive director at Albany Beck.

To welcome Derek to the business, we sat down with him to find out why it’s such an exciting time to be joining our team as we expand in Ireland, and the opportunities that exist in the country’s financial services sector.

First of all, what is it about Albany Beck that first attracted you to the role?

I wanted to use my skillset and network of contacts after my time at the Bank of Ireland. So I decided to focus on becoming a non-executive director for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) companies. Through my network I was introduced to Albany Beck and I researched their plans to grow and scale and do more business in Ireland. I then had a great discussion with the CEO, James Constable, which led to an offer I was delighted to accept.

It’s also a real vote of confidence in Albany Beck’s plans that they’re supported by IDA Ireland, which is the government agency that works with international companies that are setting up in Ireland.

In your first few months with us, what have you noticed that sets Albany Beck apart?

The things that have really struck me are the quality and approach of the leadership team, the clear focus on what they want to achieve in their specialist areas, and their cost competency model.

I particularly like their partners and practitioners staffing model, and their track record. The opportunity and challenge is to get the Albany Beck name and offering out into the Ireland financial services market. That’s where I can help.

Why should financial services firms choose to work with Albany Beck above more established names?

In their key focus areas such as KYC (know your customer), onboarding, anti-financial crime, transaction management, technology, third-party risk management and change, they have a track record of delivering and that’s what I’ve seen since I joined.

Their price point is also really competitive against the bigger names in consulting and they’re agile and customer focused. My advice to executives is to hear the Albany Beck story, try them out and experience that offering firsthand.

What opportunities can Albany Beck help financial services companies in Ireland grasp?

For the leading banks there are opportunities as they deploy digital relationship management across their different business streams. As competitors leave the Irish market, they can take advantage and increase their market share. I also think there's a great opportunity to further develop the wealth management offering, particularly in a period of negative interest rates.

And some of the challenges Albany Beck can help them overcome?

Banks need to manage all aspects of operational risk, KYC and cyber security. They must also address the new arrivals in the market who are looking to capture niche parts of their business. Above all, they need to serve the customer needs in the most technologically cost-efficient manner.

And lastly, for other Irish banking executives reading this interview, what areas of their business should they be prioritising to thrive in the coming years?

They need to focus on getting the hybrid-working model right – the balance between the office and working from home. Secondly, they need to use technology to enhance the customer experience more. And thirdly, they need to use the expertise of companies such as Albany Beck to help achieve their goals of higher customer engagement, more effective risk management, and greater shareholder value.

It was such a pleasure talking to Derek and hearing his sharp insights on the rapidly growing Irish Financial Services market. His industry expertise has strengthened our ability to help our banking clients take advantage of this new economic landscape and we’re excited to see what the future holds for Albany Beck in Ireland with Derek at the helm.