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Monday, 26th February 2024
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From Ballsbridge to the Bernebeu Back  
6.45 am The shower helps me regain consciousness and organise my thoughts to assault the day ahead. Commute by car for breakfast in the Berkeley Court. En route I check voice mail and respond where possible, then ‘crank up’ with Moby’s new album ‘Play’ on the CD.

7.30 am I work on a client memo for a technology venture fund while waiting for another client to show for 8.00 am breakfast. The breakfast meeting is with an Irish brokerage firm to discuss the expansion of their investment product range for the Irish market.

9.00 am Meet at MOP offices with members of our Financial Services Group to discuss the impact of proposed changes in the India/Mauritius tax treaty for an India country fund managed by one of the world’s largest asset management houses and which had been established as an Irish investment company to invest in India via a special purpose Mauritian subsidiary. We also discuss the implications for other US and European institutional asset management clients. After this discussion I spend some time with James Scanlon of our Financial Services Group and John Gulliver of our Tax Group addressing the implications of the Finance Bill for our investment fund clients. Agreed we would make conference calls to our international fund manager clients to update them about changes to Ireland’s regime and the likelihood of similar changes in competitor locations in the EU, including Luxembourg in particular.

9.45am I join other members of our Financial Services Group and our Tax Group to review progress on the establishment of a European asset management and brokerage operation for a US client. While the project has only a tangential connection with Ireland, the fact that we are acting as lead European counsel is probably a reflection of the success of the IFSC from a professional adviser’s perspective. The IFSC has given Irish professional advisers a platform to develop and strengthen relationships with the leading global investment banks, asset managers and other financial service companies.

10.30 am Meet with corporate finance house client to discuss the possible buy-out of an international financial services company with subsidiary operations in Ireland. This is followed by telephone negotiations to finalise the investment structure and funding requirements for a UK property acquisition for a syndicate of Irish high net worth investors. One of the notable developments during the last few years has been the demand for investment vehicles for an expanding number of high net worth investors who are thriving in our Celtic tiger economy.

12.30 pm Lunch with UK financial services client and John Ryan of our Tax Group to discuss migration of our client’s business strategy to on-line internet solution. Yet another dot.com strategy!

2.30 pm Telephone conference call with a US asset management group on the status of the establishment of its first Irish domiciled fund and subsequently discussed a variety of related issues with the Central Bank. Next on the agenda is a discussion with another US client regarding the establishment of their Irish UCITS umbrella fund for sale into the Japanese market. This project is one that has been particularly gratifying given that I first met the US client in question as early as 1993 on a roadshow to the US aimed at raising the profile of the IFSC for US fund managers. In 1993 this particular US manager, in common with many others, was so intently focused on the lucrative US mutual fund market that they had little time or appetite to consider launching non-US funds for distribution outside the US. How times change! We are now in the position where most of the major US investment and asset houses are seeking to build global, European or Asian investment fund platforms and many choose Ireland as their preferred domicile.

3.45 pm I have a conference call with the European general counsel for a US investment bank regarding the addition of new sub-funds to their existing Irish-based umbrella fund. Also participating on the call is a director of the structured products group of a European institution for whom we are establishing a special purpose vehicle to issue asset backed structured notes linked to the US client’s umbrella fund.

4.15 pm Conference call with a Swiss bank regarding the establishment of an Irish investment vehicle for Irish high net worth individuals investing in a range of Luxembourg funds. Another example of the increasing appetite of Irish investors for international investment operations. Thankfully, my next call is somewhat more pleasurable - to a Spanish client, a hedge fund manager - to finalise arrangements for a meeting in Madrid next day and, just as importantly, confirmation of tickets for the Manchester United - Real Madrid Champion’s League quarter-final clash in the Bernebeu Stadium that night. My entire day brightens up immeasurably at the prospect.

5.00 pm Call to US venture capital fund client regarding the establishment of a US/Irish master-feeder fund structure for raising US and European capital. After this, it’s off to the IFSC for a meeting in one of the banks with an Italian insurance company client in relation to the establishment of their Irish umbrella fund for sale to Italian retail investors.

7.30 pm Finally its wind-down time as I leave the IFSC and head for the Airport. En route I check voice mail and return some calls. I manage to kill the flight time with a review of a term sheet for a securitisation transaction and eventually arrive in London 50 minutes behind schedule (as usual!). Overnight at Airport Hilton en route to Madrid and, of course, the Bernebeu…

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