Irish executives ring opening bell on Wall Street

Tricolour flies alongside US and UK flags in front of New York Stock Exchange

A group of Irish executives rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday morning in a ceremony on Wall Street.

The delegation, who are competing in this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition, are in Austin, Texas, and New York city this week for the annual EOY chief executive retreat. This year’s event is the first to take place outside of Ireland since the onset of the pandemic.

Out of 23 of 25 finalists in this year’s contest with a presence at the retreat, 12 were randomly selected by EY to ring the bell on Friday upon the invitation of the New York Stock Exchange. The Irish flag was also flown alongside the US and British flags at the front of the building to mark the occasion.

The finalists, accompanied on the balcony by EY Ireland managing partner Frank O’Keeffe and assurance partner and EOY programme head Roger Wallace, led chants of “olé, olé olé” as the bell rang, signifying the opening of US financial markets on Friday.


Mr O’Keeffe said the event was an “incredible highlight” of the weeklong retreat and the finalists were “incredibly privileged” to see what it’s like to open trading, an experience largely reserved for executives of companies going public and foreign dignitaries.

Among the finalists to ring the bell was Helen Cahill, finalist and chief executive of invoice trading company InvoiceFair, who said the ceremony was among the “highlights of the week so far”.

The former banker and financial adviser said: “It was unreal. It very much took me back to my days in the cut and thrust of the dealing room.”

Finalist Jacqueline O’Reilly, joint owner of industrial concrete floor company KonFloor, said the experience was “completely exhilarating”.

The group were addressed on Friday morning by Cassandra Seier, head of capital markets at the New York Stock Exchange group; Robert Berger, managing director of Rothschild Global Advisory; and Mariano Gomide de Faria, founder of Brazilian software company Vtex, which floated on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

“People refer to this building as the temple of financial markets and I believe that,” Mr Gomide de Faria told the group.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Jonathan Dobbin, head of UK regions at Swiss Bank Julius Baer, which sponsors EOY, said Friday had been “a fantastic opportunity to visit the epicentre of global capital markets”.

He said he shared the speakers’ optimism about the outlook for equities and the US economy generally despite the economic anxieties that have gripped investors in 2022.

“The US economy is slowing but resilient, and we have witnessed examples all week which back up our confidence that the bull market cycle remains intact and that equity markets should recover in 2023,” Mr Dobbin said.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times