Citigroup announces 500 high quality jobs in Belfast
A major financial services company has announced it is to create 500 jobs in Belfast over the next five years.
US financial services corporation Citigroup is to employ the staff in its Titanic Quarter hub.
Citigroup first invested in Northern Ireland in 2004 and employs about 1,000 people in Belfast.
The announcement was made as the first and deputy first ministers officially opened Citi's new Titanic Quarter offices on Thursday.
First Minster Peter Robinson said the US-NI economic conference in Washington in October helped showcase Northern Ireland to potential investors.
"While we are confident that new investment will be generated as a result of the conference in the months and years to come, this latest commitment by Citi is proof positive that our ongoing efforts to secure investment are paying dividends.
"Over £8m of Invest NI support has secured this expansion against competition from other global locations.
"This support will help to inject upwards of £16m of new annual salaries into the local economy, providing the quality, world class employment opportunities that local people so richly deserve."
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "At a time when global businesses are still trying to manage their way out of the downturn, Citi has recognised that this region offers the skills, infrastructure and support necessary to develop its presence here and support growth in key global markets.
"Over the next five years, Citi plans to create 440 new high quality roles in its technology and operations divisions and a further 61 new specialist posts in its legal and compliance division.
"This is an extremely significant boost for the local economy particularly in terms of job numbers and the high quality of the positions."
The jobs are described as high-quality roles in the technology and operations divisions, while the remainder will be in the legal and compliance division.
The Belfast base mainly services markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The company recently attended an economic conference hosted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to boost inward investment in NI.
The investment is one of two by US companies that have been expected.
BBC NI business correspondent Kevin Magee said billions of pounds of the company's transactions are overseen by staff in Belfast every day.
"Since the company came six years ago, they have shown they have a very impressive growth record," he added.
Like many of the leading banks and financial services companies, Citi went through some tough times during the past two years, but it has seen a signifcant recovery over the last year.
Back in 2007 the company was on it knees mainly due to exposure to the crashing US property market.
It needed about $45bn (£27.9bn) of US taxpayers money to keep it afloat and shed about a third of its workforce.
Last month it reported quarterly profits of over $2bn (£1.2bn), its third profitable quarter in a row.