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Monday, 15th April 2024
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Only those approaching retirement and who plan to sell their houses and 'downsize' can regard the results of our latest property price forecast with unmitigated glee, and good luck to them - they worked long and hard for it in the lean 'sixties, 'seventies and 'eighties for it. As for the young, and the middle aged, and the first time housebuyer, the news is daunting. For the economy overall, the prospect of further house price inflation is not good. We report on some new ideas in these pages put forward by Dr Peter Bacon, among them innovation by the financial services industry. It is time for our financial institutions, including the building societies to come forward with their contributions to solving what is truly a housing crisis. Further ideas on a solution, and opportunities from an investment and property financing perspective are contained in the series of articles contained in this issue on the subject, covering both the residential market, commercial and office property, investment in property, and the taxation aspects.

Also in this issue, the regulatory framework for mergers and acquisitions is examined by Derek Fish and John Handoll. They discuss the perils of indecisiveness concerning the regulation of such a currently popular method of restructuring suggesting that the present system is both confusing and over bureaucratic (page 29-30).

Fear of Y2K is still real, and nowhere more than in the financial services sector. We are hearing now, by the day, of organisations putting in place disaster fallback solutions, in the event of failure by systems, be they electricity, communications, transport or whatever. It is prompting even a reappraisal of a deferment of FRS 133, as Y2K 'code freezes' remain a potential nightmare for treasurers, as is pointed out in a footnote to Cormac Murphy and Lisa Hayes' article on the new standard and how it relates to the reporting of derivates by companies in their annual accounts (pages 24-26).

Secure systems of course are important if you are looking into the possibilities of shared services centres (in this regard Killian Maxwell's article on page 32 provides a good review of the sources of information on the topic). Specialised centres of excellence continue to de developed in financial services, and we liked the phrase 'receivables professional' used by Craig Steven in his article (on page 31) describing the process at Nortel, where this is the mission in developing the company's receivables function.

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