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Sunday, 14th April 2024
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Meetings, scones and Christmas parties… Back  
Mon O’Driscoll, managing director of AIB Corporate Finance, may be able to avoid the worst of Dublin's traffic every morning, but he still spends a packed day dealing with staff recruitment, marketing, winning next year’s mandates, clients’ needs and a Christmas party - and that's all before a night of entertaining at the Cork Opera House.
7.30am My alarm goes off at 7.30am each morning giving me enough time for a shower and breakfast before I leave my house in Mount Merrion to drive my sons Jonathan and Andrew to St Michael’s school in Ballsbridge. Commuting time is typically about 20 minutes on a good day in Dublin’s traffic and the best time of the day to catch up with the boys and talk to them about their rugby games or art projects. It’s refreshing to see life through the eyes of a 10 and 12 yr old – if only for a short while. After dropping the boys off at school at 8.40am I drive a further 10 minutes to our offices in Pembroke Rd.
Mon O'Driscoll, managing director of AIB Corporate Finance

9.00am First task every day (after a cup of tea of course) is to sit down with my PA Patricia who takes me through the day’s typical line up of conference calls, client meetings and lunchtime appointments. To my horror, she wants to discuss the office Christmas party already!! It seems to come around earlier every year. This year, we are going to try something different and not tell staff where they are going!!! Venue is agreed with Patricia but I can’t elaborate any further than that in this article! Sorry folks. You’ll have to wait until December.
Christmas party decided, its time to go through my email inbox and delete any unwanted emails. Thankfully my mailbox is relatively empty this morning due to a late finish last night. With the ‘spam’ deleted and the priority emails dealt with I have a quick read of AIB Corporate Finance Watch – an in-house bi-monthly update of all the M&A activity in the corporate finance marketplace in Ireland. Constant travelling and being away from the office means you can sometimes miss the specifics of a deal. Corporate Finance Watch makes sure I stay on top of all the corporate activity and helps me keep track of dynamic sectors and acquisitive companies.

10.00am Patricia sounds the alarm and gathers all staff into the boardroom for our weekly staff meeting. We are located in an old Victorian house on Pembroke Rd, the disadvantage of which means, as a team, we are spread out across many rooms and floors. These weekly meetings are my way of ensuring the team is kept abreast of complex issues arising from ongoing cases; new mandates won by either ourselves or our competitors and provide an important medium for staff education and learning. A topical item on today’s agenda relates to staff recruitment. 2004 has been a particularly busy year for AIB Corporate Finance with seven transactions under our belt to date and more in the pipeline. Corporate finance activity has picked up a steady pace this year both in Dublin and in London making it harder to recruit the right people. Post the meeting, the directors and I stay behind to discuss interview candidates and upcoming interviews scheduled for later in the week. I also review a marketing plan with one of the executives to ensure we are achieving our sector targets for the year. Live transactions are an important part of our success but focused marketing efforts and identification of possible opportunities through intensive marketing and research of a sector is the key to winning next year’s mandates. The team at AIB Corporate Finance have conducted intensive research into numerous sectors allowing us to maintain up-to-the-minute knowledge of these sectors - personifying our tombstone motto: ‘Your business is our business’.

10.30am A short respite comes at 10.30am where all staff gather (again) in the boardroom for a coffee and some home made scones. AIB Capital Management, our fellow residents in 85 Pembroke Rd have organised a coffee morning in aid of a very worthy cause. I really shouldn’t have a second scone but I can’t resist. They would put Darina Allen to shame. I’ll have a light lunch to compensate!

11.00am I attend a meeting with a prospective client who is operating in the waste management sector in Ireland. Meetings are invaluable, not only as a source of new business, but also as a source of information about the market. We can benefit from talking to clients because it deepens our insight. Each year the team seeks to identify the sectors we believe will see change and consolidation over the coming years. An extremely focused campaign allows us to hone our knowledge in a sector, which is invaluable to clients. One only has to look at the intensity of the Irish Government’s current Race Against Waste campaign to recognise the changes which lie ahead in this sector. In my opinion waste management is one of the most problematic and challenging environmental issues in Ireland at the present time.

12.00pm Time for a brief conference call to discuss one of our current transactions with an SME client. Some final agreement is needed on a very detailed sale and purchase agreement. The call involves us, the corporate finance advisor on the opposite side of the transaction and of course the legal experts. The meeting makes me grateful I didn’t study law in college and reassures me to stick to banking as a career!!

1.00pm Relaxed and interesting in-house lunch this afternoon with the business editor of one of the national newspapers. We chat about recent AIBCF activity and about the M&A market in Ireland currently. The continuing development of deeper relationships with the media is hugely important and I like the fact that they contact me regularly for comment. Usually, I discuss industry developments in general but often have to turn down requests to talk about specific deals I wish to maintain confidential. One of the things I enjoy most about our location is the beautiful boardroom in this period building, allowing us to both meet and entertain clients in beautiful surroundings. Local caterer John from Yuzo Catering when called upon takes care of our catering needs with great flair and thought.

2.30pm I have another conference call this time with Leo Larkin, head of Business & Private Banking in AIB Bank to finalise some briefings we are hosting in Dublin and Cork with our colleagues in AIB Bank. Liaising with other business units in AIB Bank on who we are and what we do is key to good business development. It’s important to ensure a comprehensive understanding of your business throughout the AIB Group as a whole. We have developed some unique structures for transferring businesses to individual members of a family or management, while at the same time extracting full value for the owners. We are currently promoting this product through the key relationship managers in AIB Commercial Banking.

3.00pm Patricia pops her head into my office and produces another insurance claim form for my signature. I’m considering a career transfer at this point. We’ve experienced two floods and a break in the last year alone and I’m able to complete these forms quickly and with ease. Bad luck or what?! We often joke internally about the building being haunted!

4.00pm The airport dash... I’m a bit late leaving the office for a 5.30 pm flight out of Dublin to Cork. No early night for me as I’m entertaining clients at the Cork Opera House this evening. My colleagues in AIB Corporate Banking are hosting the event and I have invited four key clients to an evening’s entertainment listening to the music of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr, Dean Martin and more – more fondly known as The Rat Pack. Hopefully, it will be a good night and our customers will enjoy meeting with us on a more social basis than is usual.

7.00pm Arrive at my hotel in Cork. My wife Yve has already checked into our accommodation for the evening giving me just enough time for a shower and a change. Now where did I put my tux…

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