Specialist recruiters reaping the benefit of Brexit

360 Search lands backing of British investor anticipating influx of workers to Dublin

Sunday Business Post v4 Sunday Business Post, By Elaine O'Regan Oct 28, 2018

The Brexit effect is already benefiting recruiter Lynda Barnes, whose Dublin company 360 Search has become the first in the Republic of Ireland to secure funding from British backer Recruitment Entrepreneur.

Led by recruitment veteran James Caan, the London-based investor recently signalled its intent to seek investment opportunities in Ireland ahead of the anticipated post-Brexit influx of financial workers.

360 Search recruits for roles in insurance and financial services, employing 11 people in Dublin and London. Barnes established the company in 2010, having begun her career as an insurance underwriter and working subsequently for recruitment firm Brightwater.

“When we set up 360 Search, it was to look after insurance, financial services, life, pensions and investments and compliance,” she said.

“I started out in the insurance world and always understood the need for a specialism. I found I was being interviewed by people who didn’t get what I did from a technical standpoint.

“I set up 360 in 2010 at the height of recession with unemployment at 14 per cent, but by that stage I felt that recruitment had become a vocation for me. My clients had become friends. It was part of my DNA.”

Barnes approached Caan earlier this year seeking funding, having bought out early investors in the business.

“The MBO allowed me to take ownership of the control of the company,” she said. “I could have continued to grow organically, but we have been trading in that fashion for eight years and we wanted to stabilise and rebuild the backbone of the business.”

360 Search has secured a four-year contract to act as the exclusive recruitment partner to Brokers Ireland, the trade body for insurance brokers representing 1,200 firms in Ireland.

“We want to double in size by the end of next year and we are building a consultancy arm to the business,” said Barnes. “We are already seeing the impact of new organisations looking at Dublin. Brexit for us in the recruitment space can only be a positive thing.

“We wanted to be able to say to new entrants to the marketplace ‘if you need a new CFO, an interim director, head of compliance or an Irish managing director that can bring you through the Brexit process with the Central Bank, we can do that’. It’s a turnkey solution for those clients.”