Since the coronavirus lockdown, FinTrU has acquired two major new clients, and made 75 new hires for its bases in the North West and Belfast.
The award-winning company’s Financial Services Academies have also continued virtually, with the latest cohort having been trained remotely and now working in a variety of roles.
Executive Director and Head of FinTrU North West, Greg McCann, said the firm was looking forward to a “very healthy pipeline of new business opportunities”, and recommended the North West as an excellent location for other investors.
In mid-March, FinTrU took swift action and decided all 450 employees, including more than 120 staff in the Derry offices, should switch to remote working during the Covid crisis.
“It was a very busy few weeks getting everyone set up at home and making sure they had the right equipment, but the connectivity has been great in the North West, and we’re fortunate to work in a sector that has been quite robust during this period,” said Mr McCann.
“We’ve continued to grow, and keep doing what we do best. We haven’t had to avail of any government aid or furlough any staff.”
FinTrU was founded in 2013 and opened its North West site two years ago, attracted by the excellent pool of talent in the region, including graduates from local institutions such as Ulster University’s Magee campus and the Letterkenny Institute of Technology.
It plans to have 305 staff in the city over five years, and is ahead of track to meet this target.
Hiring has also continued during the pandemic, with FinTrU working hard to ensure that new recruits working from home feel welcome, through virtual coffee breaks, ‘buddying up’ with existing employees along with other online internal networking activities.
“We aim to have 600 people working at FinTrU in Northern Ireland by the end of this year. We’re well on schedule, and Covid-19 hasn’t changed that,” Mr McCann added.
The Limavady native also praised the North West as a great place to invest.
“Every academy we’ve run, we’ve been oversubscribed and we’ve always been able to select the right people because there are a lot of high quality graduates from the local universities and colleges,” he added.
“We’ve had no technical issues during Covid-19; the connectivity has been good. I think after lockdown, people will be thinking more than ever about quality of life – which is excellent here, with beaches and beautiful scenery on our doorstep.
“This access to the outdoors in the North West has also been great for staff wellbeing during the pandemic – it’s something you just don’t get in more built-up cities.”
As well as a societal shift towards more home working, Mr McCann said the City and District may benefit from businesses deciding to ‘reshore’ outsourced functions back to Northern Ireland.
“We’re aware that clients have had issues in some parts of the world that haven’t responded as well to Covid,” he added.
“We’ve had lots of fantastic feedback from clients; we’ve had no drop off of our service to them, we’ve been able to respond rapidly, with great connectivity.
“We’re hoping to see the benefit of that going forward.”
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, praised FinTrU’s ground breaking performance levels during the current crisis.
“Despite a global economic downturn in activity and the challenges posed by remote working, FinTrU have not only survived but thrived during the Covid 19 pandemic,” he said.
“They have acquired new clients and added to their talented team here in the North West and have exciting plans for further growth in the months and years ahead.
“In the post Covid 19 working environment, remote and virtual working is set to become a lot more common and FinTrU’s story proves that our region offers prospective investors the connectivity and access to talent needed to meet those challenges.”