Deep Dive into Consulting: Financial Services Advisory

Are you interested in a career in consulting within financial services advisory, but unsure what it’s all about?

Here Fionnán O’Sullivan, Managing Partner with Barden’s Financial Services Practice, and expert in financial services careers, takes a closer look at financial services advisory.

Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) was set up in the late 1980s and since then, has grown from strength to strength to establish itself as a geographical hub for global financial services business. These FS firms work across areas such as banking, asset financing, insurance, fund management, aircraft leasing and investment management.

The FS industry (arguably) experiences more frequent and volatile changes than any other industry, especially with regards to technology and regulation. As a result of this, advisory firms have created an array of dedicated FS teams offering specialised services to cater to their clients’ ever-changing needs.

Similar to the other topics we have covered in this series, it’s simply impossible to deep dive into every single area of consulting that every single firm offers in this space! So, we have picked out a couple of key services that the majority of firms offer their clients and ones we get asked about the most in terms of career opportunities.


‘Big Data’, ‘Blockchain’ and ‘RPA’ – just a few of the buzzwords that have been floating around the FS sector in recent years. What these things all have in common is that they can be used to improve the efficiency, security and operation of a FS company by performing processes and tasks way beyond human capability.

FinTech consultants are always focused on the question “What’s next?”. They identify which emerging technologies can drive innovation, growth and efficiency within their clients’ organisations and devise strategies to ensure their clients can successfully engage with these technologies. Consultants will often approach their clients with FinTech solutions, as opposed to a client seeking them out; i.e. consultants strive to solve problems their clients didn’t even know they had.


Not quite as ‘sexy’ as FinTech (!), but equally, if not more, important is the digitalisation of the FS industry. How can FS companies best utilise their customer interfaces to engage, capture and keep their customers in an increasingly competitive environment?

Consultants work with their clients to identify ways to enhance their digital offerings; how easy it is for a customer to use the client’s app/website, what digital products and capabilities are available to customers and how efficient are the processes behind each of these offerings?

Clients rely on their advisors to make sure their digital presence is more engaging, more advanced and easier to use than that of their competitors. FS consultants need to have a deep understanding as to what a customer needs and how their client can best satisfy, and indeed exceed, these needs.

Aviation Advisory

It would be untoward not to include aviation as an integral part of FS advisory services. The aircraft leasing industry has exploded in Ireland over the past decade, with 14 of the world’s top 15 aircraft lessors now based in Ireland. Beyond audit and tax services, bespoke advisory teams have been created to cater to the needs of this large client base.

These teams assist their clients with the more technical aspects of the business such as building financial models for fleet analysis, calculating intangibles or forecasting liquidity as well as improving how clients utilise and store data in their bespoke contract management systems. Alongside this, they also offer strategic advice to clients to help them plan and achieve their medium-long term goals.

We have seen a surge in the size of aviation advisory teams in practice firms in the last few years. Firms are continuing to develop their offerings in this space to get their part of a very lucrative pie!

All of the big practice firms also offer a range of bespoke finance transformation and risk advisory services to their FS clients. Check out our previous articles on these topics here and here to learn a little more about careers in these areas.

There’s no doubt that the financial services sector will continue to develop in Ireland over the coming years. Firms such as BNY Mellon and Citco have developed a significant presence in Cork, indicating that the FS sector will grow far beyond the confines of the IFSC.


Need help building your financial services team, or looking for the best next step in your financial services career?

We’re the experts in financial services recruitment in Ireland. If you’re a leader looking to attract new talent, or a professional seeking opportunities, speak to Fionnán O’Sullivan today at, and he’ll take it from there.



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