Financial Services

Financial Services

The financial services sector is evolving and adapting as a result of intense competition, unprecedented economic turbulence and increasing customer expectations. It is a fiercely competitive and increasingly regulated environment where it is vital to demonstrate integrity, transparency and innovation to win customers and to stay ahead of the competition.

At BDO our multi-disciplinary financial services team have a deep understanding of the sector and therefore understand the issues our clients face and have a complete commitment to delivering exceptional client service. We pride ourselves on the strong relationships we develop with our clients, characterised by effective communication, technical excellence and a tailored approach to each service we perform. 

As part of the BDO International network, BDO have offices in all the key global financial services markets and offer an integrated, international solution to our clients around the world. Our dedicated Dublin team has strong relationships with BDO’s overseas financial services practices, particularly in London, New York, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands.

Visit the BDO Global Financial Services blog here.

Our Industry Sectors

Our Dublin office provides the full range of audit, assurance, tax and advisory services to clients in the asset management sector.  

We service clients operating across the sector, including: 

  • Traditional and alternative fund managers 
  • Offshore funds 
  • Hedge funds 
  • Open ended investment companies 
  • Listed and unlisted investment trust companies
  • ICAVs (Irish Collective Asset-management Vehicles 
  • UCITS (Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities) and Non-UCITS structures 

Our Dublin office is responsible for auditing some of the leading funds administered in Ireland with a portfolio of clients spread over a number of jurisdictions such as Ireland, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands. With Cayman registered funds, which require sign off by a Cayman registered auditor, we liaise closely with our Cayman colleagues to provide an efficient, seamless and timely service. In our work we interact with the leading banks, custodians and administrators, both in Ireland and internationally. 

Our FS Risk & Advisory team provide expert advice on a range of complex issues. Our knowledge helps our clients retain and grow assets, mitigate risk and respond to regulatory changes in areas such as money laundering, financial crime and investigations. Our professionals take a proactive approach to addressing concerns before they become major issues, providing tailored advice throughout the entire engagement process. 

Our Financial Services Tax team consists of a dedicated team of professionals, with an international background and extensive financial services experience. We work alongside our international colleagues, spanning 167 countries and territories, to offer an integrated international approach incorporating domestic and foreign tax advice. 

Our services cover: 

  • Withholding Tax optimisation 
  • Transfer Pricing  
  • Tax Structuring 
  • Tax Due Diligence 
  • Tax Risk Review Assessment 
  • Corporation Tax Compliance reporting 
  • Fund specific returns – IREF, IUT and Return of Values, FATCA/CRS, iXBRL 

BDO is a member of Irish Funds

The international and Irish banking industry has experienced significant changes and challenges in recent years including increased regulatory reform, disruptive technologies, risk management considerations and funding constraints. Recently, new challengers are entering the space, using innovative technology to change the whole customer experience. 

We work with new entrants to support authorisation and develop their business. We are also helping established players become more robust and further improve their processes.

BDO’s Financial Services team consists of experienced professionals with diverse experience and knowledge. We provide customised solutions and sophisticated strategies for our clients across all segments of the banking industry. The team provides a comprehensive service portfolio covering audit, assurance, tax, regulatory advisory as well as investigations, technology risk and outsourcing services.

We serve our clients locally from BDO’s offices in Dublin, Limerick, Cork  and Belfast, while drawing upon the firm’s global network across 167 countries and territories for considerable global resources and industry expertise.


We work with major international and domestic banking institutions. We are also proud to represent our banking clients to regulators and industry bodies.

Our full range of expertise for banking clients includes:

  • External audits to international and domestic banks
  • Internal Audit
  • Governance and Control Review
  • Regulatory advisory services
  • Process Optimisation and Target Operating Model design and implementation
  • Banking licence applications
  • Cybersecurity and IT
  • Regulatory Support (e.g. RMP assurance)
  • Acting as receivers, managers and liquidators
  • Independent Secretariat Services

Alternative Finance

We work with clients in the alternative finance arena such as credit servicing firms, aviation leasing companies, card issuers and e-money institutions.

We provide a full range of services and focus on delivering the exact combination of services and advice that they need to meet their unique challenges and to thrive in their markets.

Our services include:

  • Audit and tax assurance
  • Regulatory advisory services
  • Tax structuring advice
  • Fully outsourced and co-sourced internal audit services
  • Post implementation systems reviews
  • Back-office finance and accounting support

The Credit Union sector continues to undergo fundamental change. In addition to dealing with day to day operations, Credit Union boards, committees, management and staff face increased regulatory oversight, more onerous reporting requirements and a greater emphasis on risk management and corporate governance. At the same time, Credit Unions continue to deal with the issues that emerged during the financial crisis such as viability, their business model, governance, management effectiveness and scale.

Our dedicated credit union team have an in depth knowledge of the credit union sector, the ongoing regulatory requirements and operational issues facing credit unions in the current climate and offer a range of services to ensure continued compliance with legislative obligations and advice on the financial and strategic aspects of their business. 

Annual Audit: BDO will ensure that the annual audit of your Credit Union’s accounts is conducted in an efficient manner, is statutorily compliant and meets the reporting requirements of the Central Bank.

Strategic Assistance: Strategic planning is a legal requirement for Credit Unions. BDO can assist your Credit Union to fulfil this legal requirement, can offer leading advice on the financial and strategic goals set by your Board and can help in documenting a plan that is achievable, realistic and that can contribute to a sustainable future for your Credit Union.

Mergers / Transfer of Engagements: For some Credit Unions, the decision to enter into a merger or transfer of engagements is necessary to secure survival; for others, it is a strategic move to secure growth. BDO can offer advice on the impact of such engagements and the strategic advantages / disadvantages for your Credit Union on entering into such an arrangement.

Liquidation: BDO were the court appointed liquidators to a number of high-profile cases, including Charleville Credit Union Limited and Berehaven Credit Union Limited.  Key aspects to these appointments included the processing of depositor claims under the Deposit Guarantee Scheme Regulations and the successful realisation of each Credit Union’s Loan Books.

HR and Payroll: BDO provides a range of HR and Payroll support services to help your Credit Union comply with its obligations under employment legislation.

Internal Audit:  BDO’s FS Risk & Advisory Services team can provide outsourced internal audit services to Credit Unions of all sizes. For those with total assets of over €100 million, BDO can function as your Head of Internal Audit (CUPCF-4).  In performing an internal audit role, BDO can deliver effective assurance to your Board in areas such as internal controls, risk management, governance and compliance with the Credit Union Act.

Risk and Compliance: The Credit Union Act imposes risk management and compliance obligations on Credit Unions. BDO can conduct independent reviews of your risk management system and compliance programme to benchmark them and assist you in meeting your regulatory requirements. In addition, BDO can provide outsourced risk management and compliance services to your organisation. In circumstances where the total assets of your Credit Union exceed €100 million, our team can act as your Risk Management Officer (CUPCF-3).

IT Framework and Cyber-Security Assessments: The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has set out its expectation of Credit Unions to develop and maintain robust IT risk management frameworks. Recent CBI inspections of IT within Credit Unions have focussed on the following areas: IT strategy; IT governance; IT policies; IT risk management; outsourcing; business/service continuity; cyber-security, and information security.

BDO has experienced and qualified IT risk professionals to support your Credit Union in planning for, and meeting, the CBI’s expectations in relation to IT risk management.

Ad Hoc Reviews: We can offer bespoke reviews, covering a wide range of risk and governance areas. We will deliver a high level of assurance to your Board and Management through independent and objective reviews.

Central Bank of Ireland: BDO is well placed to support Credit Union Boards and their CEOs in managing engagements with the CBI. From pre-inspection support, to the resolution of Risk Mitigation Program (RMPs), our team has the depth and breadth of skills to help your CU navigate challenging times.

As a technology hotspot and home to leading financial services firms, Ireland is a preferred location for Fintech companies. As the macroeconomic landscape changes, some of the key disruptors we see facing the sector include digital challenger banks, lending platforms, payment service providers, digital wallets, cryptocurrency companies and data aggregators, all innovating in different ways.

In the short term, Fintech companies will be primarily impacted by regulatory compliance, particularly in respect of reporting obligations and conduct risk.

We utilise our expertise and sector knowledge to support Fintech companies in meeting their governance, risk and regulatory objectives.

Our Services Include:

  • Audit
  • Tax
  • Internal Audit
  • Corporate Governance
  • Risk Management
  • IT Assurance
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Cybersecurity

As market and regulatory forces continue to place demands on the Financial Services sector, BDO can provide the bespoke advice and proactive services you need to succeed. In order to appropriately manage regulatory developments, sector expert teams from across BDO have joined forces in the Global Financial Services Sector Group. We offer comprehensive support to our clients across all segments of Financial Services.

BDO’s FS Risk & Advisory Services professionals work with our clients to define, execute and monitor their Governance, Risk and Compliance requirements.


Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision IORP II

The IORP II Directive sets out standards in relation to an effective system of governance for Irish Occupational pensions schemes, as well as enhanced duties around member communications. For an overview of the requirements and how BDO can support your organisation, please download our IORP II brochure here.

Our services

Explore how we can help you: 

Governance, Risk & Compliance

The governance and conduct of financial services firms has been under increasing scrutiny. As new laws and regulations are introduced, the management of financial services companies is further challenged to ensure greater levels of transparency, objectivity and professionalism. Directors need to ensure that corporate governance standards are adhered to and the design of risk and compliance management systems is robust.

We can help you respond to emerging regulation, building on our broad experience of working with banks, insurers, asset and wealth managers and other regulated businesses. Our approach combines an analysis of the legal framework together with an assessment of the systems and processes which can help to ensure compliance and sound corporate governance. Our tailored and cost-effective solutions will assist you in creating holistic governance, risk and compliance frameworks and will provide you with access to industry best-practice methodology, value-adding insights and subject matter experts.

Our services include but are not limited to the following:


  • Governance framework development
  • Policy development
  • Process optimisation
  • Target operating Model development
  • Corporate governance
  • Board Training


  • Risk Appetite Statement
  • Risk assessments
  • Risk management frameworks and risk registers
  • Compliance frameworks and monitoring plans
  • Risk and Compliance assurance testing
  • SOX Compliance


  • Regulatory interpretation and advice
  • Risk Mitigation Programmes
  • Regulatory reporting frameworks
  • Fitness and Probity, Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Consumer Protection Code (CPC) and GDPR
  • Capital Requirements Directive and Solvency II
  • Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID)
  • PSD II
  • European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR)
  • Recovery, ICAAP, ILAAP and wind-down planning


The Central Bank is the competent authority in the Republic of Ireland for the authorisation of financial services firms. At BDO, we can help you to seamlessly enter Irish and European markets.

Alternatively, if your business trajectory means you are facing new regulatory requirements, our team can support you through the relevant authorisation process. From banking authorisations, to assisting fintech start-ups, or launching a new fund, BDO can provide tailored assistance with regulatory applications, including applications for pre-approval of individuals.

Our services include:

  • Advice on setting up in the Republic of Ireland
  • Mapping of relevant regulations
  • Establishment and incorporation of an Irish company
  • Building the application pack, all associated forms and relevant documents
  • Timely support with Regulator queries
  • Development of a suite of policies and frameworks
  • Set-up support, including compliance, risk and internal audit services

We provide support to the full spectrum of financial services firms seeking authorisation in the Republic of Ireland.

Internal Audit

As part of good governance and maintaining the ‘three lines of defence’, internal audit provides assurance to management and boards that systems and controls are in place and sufficient to mitigate risk. 

BDO has successfully established its market position in recent years as an independent auditing company, providing internal audit services to the full spectrum of financial services institutions.

Regardless of your specific sector or whether you already have an internal audit function, our FS Risk & Advisory professionals can create a framework individually tailored to your needs. We can assist you in the following areas:

  • Internal audit outsourcing
  • Internal audit co-sourcing
  • Quality assurance review
  • Process and internal controls advisory
  • Audit committee advisory
  • Data analytics

Advances in technology are enabling changes in business models, improving productivity and driving innovation. Our approach to internal audit leverages these advances to allow us to: be proactive advisors to senior management; enable the board to stay to the forefront of technological change, and advise on emerging risks and industry hot topics along the way.

IT Advisory

Our Financial Services Technology Risk team provides a range of IT audit, assurance and certification services. We take an innovative approach in our risk management methodologies to address your digital risks and to help keep your company safe.

Our experienced professionals understand the risks you face and keep up-to-date with the rapid pace of change. We can help your organisation accelerate its defences against IT and Cybersecurity risk.

Our services include:

  • Cybersecurity Risk Assessments
  • Penetration testing
  • Data protection and GDPR
  • MDR (Managed Detection and Response) Services

For further information on our IT and Cybersecurity Advisory services, click here.

At BDO Ireland we have a wide range of experience in the insurance sector, with clients in the professional indemnity, general insurance, captive insurance and reinsurance sectors.

Today’s insurers face a wide range of complex challenges brought about by intensified regulatory scrutiny, enhanced compliance and capital requirements, as well as the emergence of digitally savvy competitors. The key matters facing our clients include:

  • IFRS 17
  • Solvency II Regime
  • Covid-19
  • Digitalisation
  • Regulatory Change

We have built our insurance sector expertise over many decades. We have the depth of specialist insurance skills to deal with the changing needs of the insurance sector.

Our services to the insurance marker include the following:

  • Audit
  • Tax
  • Internal Audit
  • Accounting Advisory
  • Corporate Governance
  • Risk Management
  • IT Assurance
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Cybersecurity
  • Solvency II

Financial services firms operate under increasingly complex regulation. Our expert advisory teams provide robust, independent and professional advice in areas including: 

  • Liquidation Services
  • M&A Advisory Services
  • R&D Tax Services

Liquidation Services

Our Corporate Recovery team has substantial experience and expertise in the specialist area of Members’ Voluntary Liquidations (MVL).

Over the past 10 years we have taken on in excess of 500 MVL appointments including a significant proportion of appointments in the Financial Services Sector and have distributed in excess of eight billion euro to shareholders and investors.

We regularly assist and advise clients through all stages of the MVL  process including pre-planning (operational, financial, taxation), business wind down, pre-liquidation steps and procedures and conducting the winding up of the company.

We are regularly appointed liquidator to regulated entities within the Financial Services Sector, including authorised fund companies and management companies, insurance and reinsurance companies and captives, authorised investment firms and MiFID authorised firms.   We are therefore experienced working within the regulatory framework on a wide variety of regulated companies and working closely with contributors and the Central Bank of Ireland on de-authorisation processes. 

We also have a substantial amount of experience winding-up Securitisation Special Purpose Companies working closely with both promoters and managed service providers in this respect.

M&A Advisory Services

Financial services and Fintech M&A will grow substantially over the next few years. BDO’s FS Corporate Finance practice assist both traditional financial services and Fintech companies throughout the M&A and investment process, encompassing services around:

  • Strategic advice
  • Advice on compliance with regulatory requirements
  • Buy-side and sell-side lead advisory
  • Fundraising
  • Valuation advice
  • Transaction services (financial, tax, compliance and regulatory due diligence)
  • Post deal integration support

R&D Tax Services

Our multidiscipline R&D services team, combining taxation experts and computer scientists, provide services to a host of clients in the Computer Science and Mathematics field. We work closely with our clients to ensure they meet the regime requirements, file the necessary forms and reports, and ultimately improve their chances of success with the R&D tax credit regime.

We have compiled hundreds of projects which entailed computer science and software development activities, including a number focused on the delivery of banking and financial services solutions. Our clients in this field include a host of multinational organisations to whom we have provided R&D tax credit services over multiple claim periods.

With over 2,900 vehicles and assets of €970bn, and a workforce of more than 3,650 people, Ireland is the leading European jurisdiction for Special Purpose Vechicles (SPVs).

SPVs are required and used by a cross-section of the international financial services sector.  Investment funds, the aircraft leasing sector and insurance companies use SPVs to hold certain types of assets as part of their risk management strategies.

The importance of non-banking funding channels to generate real economic activity, stimulate growth and to make the financial system more resilient is well understood, with the Governor of the Irish Central Bank noting that "vibrant capital markets are essential for a well-developed and stable financial system”.

Ireland continues to lead the sector in determining and defining best industry practice.

BDO currently act as auditors and tax advisors to a large portfolio of Securitisation Companies including:

  • Aircraft Leasing Securitisations
  • CLOs
  • CDOs
  • Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS)
  • Collateralised Mortgage Backed Securities (CBMS)
  • Loan origination
  • Bond/Debt issuance
  • Life settlement assets
  • Investment fund SPVs

BDO have close working relationships with all of the major corporate service providers.

BDO is a member of the Irish Debt Securities Association with team members sitting on both the Audit Constituency Group and Tax Committee.