DUBLIN - Industry executives here painted the Isle's future as an offshore domicile as big and bold, but representatives from Continental European countries spoke of several difficult tasks ahead for their markets stemming from three years of the bear market.

Gathered for the sixth annual Global Funds Conference, co-sponsored by the Dublin Funds Industry Association and the National Investment Company Service Association, those anchored in Dublin were touting their country's reputation as a leading offshore domicile known for its progressive, yet prudent regulatory approach. The Irish were the first in the European Union to regulate hedge funds and retail funds-of-hedge funds, they said. They were also the first to allow the use of prime brokers and to approve exchange-traded funds.

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