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Shining a light on Special Purpose Entities in Ireland


  • Golden, Brian

    (Central Bank of Ireland)

  • Hughes, Patrick

    (Central Bank of Ireland)


Special Purpose Entities (SPEs) form a substantial component of the Irish-resident financial sector and play an important role in risk dispersion within the global financial system. They are, however, quite complex, spanning a wide range of activities and often forming part of cross-border, multi-entity corporate structures. More generally, market-based credit-intermediation is increasingly supplementing and substituting traditional models of credit, where a company or household borrows directly from a bank which bears the risk of the loan (IMF, 2016). Ireland has emerged as a global hub for this activity, having a non-bank financial sector with total assets of €4.5 trillion in Q1 2018, of which €676 billion were held by SPEs. This paper’s primary purpose is to outline the activities of the SPE sector in Ireland. The insights are primarily gathered from granular data collected by the Central Bank of Ireland (hereafter the Central Bank), which covers each SPE‘s balance sheet, mostly at individual security level, its activity type and links to other entities, among other information.3 We provide a broad overview of the sector, detail elements of interconnectedness to other financial entities, highlight some common business models and discuss the impact on the Irish economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Golden, Brian & Hughes, Patrick, 2018. "Shining a light on Special Purpose Entities in Ireland," Economic Letters 11/EL/18, Central Bank of Ireland.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbi:ecolet:11/el/18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Janko Cizel & Jon Frost & Aerdt Houben & Peter Wierts, 2019. "Effective Macroprudential Policy: Cross‐Sector Substitution from Price and Quantity Measures," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 51(5), pages 1209-1235, August.
    2. Stefan Avdjiev & Cathérine Koch & Patrick McGuire & Goetz von Peter, 2017. "International Prudential Policy Spillovers: A Global Perspective," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 13(2), pages 5-33, March.
    3. Barrett, Dominick & Godfrey, Brian & Golden, Brian, 2016. "New Data Collection on Special Purpose Vehicles in Ireland: Initial Findings and Measuring Shadow Banking," Quarterly Bulletin Articles, Central Bank of Ireland, pages 71-84, October.
    4. Golden, Brian & Maqui, Eduardo, 2018. "How 'special' are international banks sponsoring Irish-resident SPEs?," Research Technical Papers 14/RT/18, Central Bank of Ireland.
    5. Sunil Sharma & Sushil Bikhchandani, 2000. "Herd Behavior in Financial Markets; A Review," IMF Working Papers 00/48, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Godfrey, Brian & Jackson, Clive, 2011. "Meeting the Statistical Challenges of Financial Innovation: Introducing New Data on Securitisation," Quarterly Bulletin Articles, Central Bank of Ireland, pages 109-122, July.
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