Managing Director, Business Development EMEA
An Irishman abroad
Brian McMahon, managing director for business development at BNY Mellon Alternative Investment Services, began his career in Dublin and later had spells in London and Edinburgh, but he says he now can’t imagine moving on from Luxembourg..
A culture of hard work
Brian McMahon epitomises how Luxembourg and Ireland have emerged over the past three decades to become major European financial services centres, serving a client base across the continent and beyond despite lacking a substantial domestic market. Born in Dublin, he grew up with a readiness to embrace hard work – learning from his father in building a kitchen extension in their home, sometimes until 2 a.m. to get the job done. That experience would serve him well years later in Edinburgh, when was often working late at night on a complex migration project – and asking his staff to make sacrifices to get it finished, too. “I’d never ask someone to do something that I wasn’t prepared to do myself,” McMahon says.
Positive impact of the crisis
He had begun his career as an accountant in Dublin, where he joined Deutsche Bank in the late 1990s, first dealing with UK accounts and later in product roles. After a move to London with Deutsche’s GSS business, then to Edinburgh, he arrived in Luxembourg in 2007, specialising in private equity and real estate investment services. That was at the onset of the financial crisis, which McMahon says brought positive developments for the industry as well as challenges: a decline in staff turnover as people became more committed to their employer, an important factor in offering continuity to clients, as well as improved services at keener prices. The development of the jurisdiction of the past decade has persuaded him he wants to stay in the grand duchy for the foreseeable future and take an active part in promoting it.
A commitment to service
McMahon says he was amazed by the commitment to providing services he found on arriving in Luxembourg, as well as the unique mix of cultures and the legal framework that has grown up to support the investment industry and protect its customers. He and his family reflect the grand duchy’s multinational character, having three children born in different countries – and his eldest, English-born son now plays for the national squash team. He says his business philosophy is about listening to clients, grasping their concerns and devising solutions, but being straightforward and transparent rather than over-promising. McMahon lives by values of loyalty and commitment, and appreciates that “here people are judged by what they deliver. When you invest in Luxembourg, Luxembourg invests in you”.
Facts & Figures
Place of birth: Dublin
Languages: English, French
Hobbies: Squash, Home Improvement, Skiing
Cities: Clifton, Connemara, Barcelona, Canterbury, Florence
Places: Banff, Jackson Hole, Tuscany
Book: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Music: Eclectic, depending on the mood
Artists: JJ Adams, Kerry Darlington