About Us

Our Team

Meet the Team

The activities we undertake on behalf of our members are managed by a range of professionals based at the Secretariat’s offices in the heart of the International Financial Services Centre in Dublin as well as our Brussels office.

Pat Lardner

Chief Executive

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Pat Lardner joined Irish Funds as Chief Executive in April 2012. He has over twenty years’ experience in the global asset management industry and has held executive and board roles in Ireland and overseas with firms managing a full range of traditional and alternative investment strategies. Pat attained his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from University College Dublin. As well as participating on all significant Government sponsored groups relating to funds in Ireland, Pat is a member of the Board of the European Fund and Asset Management Association and the International Investment Funds Association. He is a past Council Member of the Irish Association of Pension Funds and a former Director of the Irish Association of Investment Managers.

Karen Gildea

Executive Assistant to Pat Lardner

Umar Ahmed

Head of EU Affairs

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Umar Ahmed joined Irish Funds in May 2019 and is the Association’s Head of EU Affairs. Based in Brussels, Umar leads engagement with EU Institutions, regulatory authorities and stakeholders in the public policy universe. He is an experienced government and regulatory affairs professional with a strong background in financial services and experience across Europe and the US. Prior to joining the association, Umar was with BNY Mellon’s US Government Affairs & Public Policy team in New York and led US State and Local Government Affairs activity for the bank. He previously was with BNY Mellon’s EMEA External Affairs team in London and led advocacy and external engagement with EU officials, legislators and the diplomatic community in EMEA. He began his career in EU financial services consultancy in Brussels, working for Hume Brophy.

Kieran Fox

Director of Business Development

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Kieran Fox joined the Association in August 2007 and is the Director - Business Development for Irish Funds. As well as being responsible for working with investment managers and developing our membership offering, Kieran participates in a number of our steering groups including Distribution, Marketing & Promotion and Front Office and has led engagement on specific regulatory matters. Kieran has a BSc Finance and holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Information Systems. Prior to joining us he gained significant experience both in industry and within the regulator. He was a senior regulator and risk specialist with the Central Bank of Ireland for almost two years and prior to this spent seven years in a variety of roles across the front office within the hedge fund industry in London. Kieran represents the Association on the Summit Finuas Network Steering Committee.

Declan Casey

Director - Legal & Technical

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Declan Casey joined Irish Funds in August 2001 and since late 2006 he has been the Association’s Legal & Technical Director. He is responsible for developments in both the international and domestic regulatory environment, with specific focus in the areas of UCITS, Corporate Governance, Financial and Regulatory Reporting and Anti Money Laundering. Declan is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and prior to joining us he spent over a decade working for a large domestic bank in structured finance, commercial lending and legal roles. Declan is an active participant on a number of government groups relating to funds, in particular the IFSC Funds Group, the Legislative Sub-Group the Industry Anti-Money Laundering Forum.

Michelle Spencer

Director - Finance & Operations

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Michelle Spencer joined Irish Funds in November 2017 as Director - Finance and Operations, responsible for the Association’s finances, HR and IT functions. Michelle also sits on Irish Funds’ Innovation, Skills and Technology Steering Group and represents the Association on the IFS Skillnet Steering Group. Prior to joining, Michelle spent 20 years working in the financial services industry, mostly in senior operational roles at two leading investment funds services providers. She has an in-depth understanding of operational, service and regulatory infrastructures for a wide range of funds and has considerable expertise in new product launches, operational risk, business transformation and insourcing/outsourcing strategies. Michelle trained as a Chartered Accountant with PwC and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. She holds an Honours degree in Accounting and Finance from Dublin City University and also holds an industry risk management qualification.

Patrick Rooney

Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager

Aoife Coppinger

Regulatory Affairs Manager

Conor Kilroy

Regulatory Affairs Manager

David Shirley

Project Manager - Events & Sponsorship

Anna Fenston

Communications Manager

Sara White

Finance & Operations Manager

Laura McClean

Finance & Operations Executive

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