Press Release 3 minute read

Ireland tops the world’s ranking as the least complex place for business compliance

17 February 2016

Annual index by TMF Group ranks 95 countries according to regulatory and compliance regimes

  • Ireland ranked the world’s least complex country for multinational companies to stay compliant with corporate regulation and legislation, ahead of the UK
  • Introduction of Ireland’s new Companies Act in 2015 was a transformational initiative for the country’s already pro-business environment
  • Ireland’s performance contrasts with Argentina, which ranked as the most complex country for doing business from a regulatory and compliance perspective for the third year running

Ireland has topped the world’s ranking as the least complex place for businesses to stay compliant with corporate regulation and legislation, according to TMF Group’s Global Benchmark Complexity Index 2015, having improved its position from last year when it was beaten to the line by Hong Kong and Jersey.

The far-reaching annual study by TMF Group, a leading global provider of high value business services to clients operating and investing internationally, ranked 95 jurisdictions across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas according to how complex they are to do business in from a regulatory and compliance perspective. View full report.

According to the report, Ireland comes last in the Complexity Index in 2015 (95th place), highlighting its position as the least complex country for business compliance ahead of the British Virgin Islands (94th), Latvia (93rd), Trinidad & Tobago (92nd), New Zealand (91st) and Labuan (90th). This is third year in which Ireland has ranked in the top three of the least complex places in the world to do business with regard to regulation and compliance, and it once again outperforms the United Kingdom and United States, which ranked 74th and 56th respectively.

The ease of doing business in Ireland improved in 2015 with the introduction of a new Companies Act designed to reduce red tape and business complexity in the country. The act included a single constitutional document to replace the Memorandum and Articles of Association; reduced the minimum number of directors of a private company limited by shares to one from two; companies having no requirement to convene AGMs; and, extended the small companies audit exemption to small groups, among other changes.

Coupled with Ireland’s pro-business attitude, some of the broader reasons Ireland is a straightforward place to do business include a stable political environment, the only English-speaking member of the Eurozone, a highly educated workforce and a strong legal and common law framework.

Commenting on the ranking, Ronan Reilly, Managing Director of TMF Group Ireland, said: “This is positive news and very well-deserved. The government and institutions such as the IDA have worked tirelessly to make this country an even more attractive destination to invest and do business in, and over the last few years we have seen a growing number of multinationals setting up in Ireland. The new Companies Act has been transformational and put clear blue water between Ireland and other competing jurisdictions. Companies all over the world have taken note and we look forward to welcoming more to our shores during the course of 2016.”

Welcoming the report, Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, Ireland’s inward investment agency, said: “Ireland is an attractive destination for enterprise and international investment, with a pro-business environment. This makes a compelling case for investing and doing business in Ireland, and has helped build a worldwide reputation for the country as the destination for international investment.” 

Ireland’s position in the rankings starkly contrasts to Argentina at the other end of the spectrum, which has been ranked as the most complex country for multinational enterprises to do business from a regulatory and compliance perspective for the third year running. The country is followed Indonesia, Columbia, UAE and China who come in at second, third, fourth and fifth places respectively.

Argentina is joined by four of its Latin American neighbours, with half of the countries in the Index’s top 10 hailing from the region including Columbia (3rd), Mexico (6th), Bolivia (7th) and Brazil (10th), making it the most complex region in the world for business compliance. The next most complex region is Asia, with three countries in the top 10, including Indonesia (2nd), China (5th) and Thailand (9th).

Results summary:

  • Argentina (1st), Indonesia (2nd) and Columbia (3rd) are ranked as the most complex
  • Ireland (95th), British Virgin Islands (94th) and Latvia (93rd) are the least complex
  • Three European countries fall into the top 20 most complex destinations for doing business in, namely Hungary (13th), Poland (17th) and Switzerland (19th)
  • Also in the top 10 were the United Arab Emirates (4th), Mexico (6th), Bolivia (7th), Lebanon (8th) and Brazil (10th)

For further information, please contact:

Justin Griffiths, Andrew McGuinness or Mazar Masud
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7250 1446

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