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Saturday, 13th April 2024
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A Day in the Life: global ambitions at Bank of Ireland Global Markets Back  
Paul Flynn, head of foreign interest rate trading at Bank of Ireland Global Markets, starts the day early, with just enough time for a swim before jumping into the deep end of another day of meetings, strategising and data watching before heading home to the real job – the family.
6.30am Early start to the day so I can get to the office by 7.15 am. Out of the house and straight to the swimming pool for a brief 20-minute swim to set me up for the day. Traffic is a dream at this time and it takes around 20 minutes to get to Bank of Ireland Global Market’s office in Talbot Street. First task of the day (even before coffee) is to check the markets and our overnight risk positions. Our bearish US interest rate positions are working which bodes well for this week’s profitability. Next, I assess any overnight data paying particularly attention to the US market. There have been a number of Federal Reserve Speakers out and it looks like the key ‘measured tightening’ phase is set to continue. Next, an obligatory look at the financial pages of the broad-sheets.
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Paul Flynn, head of foreign interest rate trading at Bank of Ireland Global Markets.



7.45am Working as a team is an intrinsic part of the culture at Bank of Ireland Global Markets – so it’s free-flow conversation among the Trading Team around market intelligence and views. At 7.45am the trading team squeeze into Dr Dan McLaughlin’s (our Chief Economist) office for our daily briefing on the markets and an outline of key economic data due out this morning. Today is a busy day with US inflation data due for release at 13.30; this will have important implications for our core bearish US interest rate position. Each desk gives a run through on their positions – the GBP desk are taking profit on a very successful call on short term UK rates which they initiated about six weeks ago, and the EUR desk are adding to their short position in 2y German bond futures. By now there is a buzz around the trading floor amongst our 100 strong team - about 40 traders and over 70 people in customer sales.

8.00am Time for breakfast. It’s healthy eating week in Global Markets, so it is fruit salad and porridge all-round. However, I draw the line at decaf coffee! I have a chat with Sean Crowe (Head of Trading) and Kevin Twomey (Credit Trading) about the latest overnight news and the sports results and then it’s straight into our weekly Trading Group Management meeting. On the agenda today is the growth of the business, the risk being run across the trading floor and new product development. Our CEO Mick Sweeney is pushing an ambitious growth mandate. For the trading side, this means exploiting our No 1 position in the market and developing new income streams, in particular non-core earnings. Already, Mick is on the trading floor, getting a sense of what’s going on and reminding us - as if we needed it - about our growth objectives.

9.30am Some quick calls to market contacts to get a feel for views and flows in the market before returning to that growth agenda. It’s a group-wide conference call to put the finishing touches to the arrangement and pricing of a large Swap Auction deal for one of our major corporate customers – it’s all hands on deck to push for the finishing line with our corporate sales team. Also up for discussion is the structuring for a range of other deals that are in the pipeline. The meeting is productive with a number of action points for John Moclair (Head of Domestic Sales) and myself. I believe it is vitally important that the Trading Team work hand-in-hand with the Customer Sales Team, as customer business is critical to the success of the Trading Group.

10.30am Bank of Ireland Global Markets is also responsible for the liquidity of the Bank of Ireland Group. It is vitally important that the BOI Group has access to ‘funding pools’ across the globe. It is important that this is done in a prudent and efficient manner. Time for a meeting around our wholesale debt-marketing programme. Vincent Digby heads up the Wholesale Funding Desk. Innovation counts here, and we are building on the success of our groundbreaking Asset Covered Securities (ACS) issue in 2004. It won several industry awards including IFR Magazine’s ‘Euro Bond of the Year’ of which we are very proud. Today’s meeting concerns sign-off on our debt-marketing programme for the next quarter with a particular focus on international investor diversification. The goal is to secure senior funding at the best possible rates through focused marketing and innovative product development.

12.15pm Time for lunch – remember it’s Healthy Eating week so I am particularly keen on an extra portion of veg. It’s a football discussion – Dr Dan McLaughlin pulls up a chair (Man United supporter) and the conversation becomes lively as yet again Dan extols the virtues of Alex Ferguson’s team. As a side bar, I catch up with John Barry (Head of FX Trading) around his views on EuroDollar currency, as I need to make a decision soon on whether or not to hedge next year’s US Dollar income.

1.00pm A quick call from Tom Hayes who heads up BOI’s Specialised Finance Group. Tom is looking to finalise arrangements for Bank of Ireland’s recent acquisition in the U.K. of Burdale Financial Ltd (a comprehensive asset based lender). Global Markets Sterling Desk is providing the financing arrangements for this venture.

1.30pm The US CPI data is released in line with forecasts. There is minimal market reaction post the numbers. Dr Dan’s colleagues, Simon Barry and Michael Crowley provide immediate insight into the likely implications of the detail of the numbers. Unfortunately, today’s release proves an anti-climax.

3.00pm Part of our growth agenda is to be the No 1 Irish provider of treasury services to the global interbank market. More flow from the interbank market gives my trading team increased leveraging opportunities. I meet with Monty Mackenzie who heads up our Financial Institution’s team. The meeting ends with an agreed schedule of three meetings that Monty will arrange for me in Frankfurt next week - just need to book the flights and check out one or two other contacts in Frankfurt to get the most out of the day.

3.30pm I put a call though to contacts in New York and Chicago to assess Stateside views on the markets. A number of interesting points emerge, particularly surrounding the housing market in the US. I relay these thoughts onto the rest of the Trading desk. Returning to the funding agenda, I dial into a conference call to discuss the timing of our next senior bond issue.

4.00pm The USD Desk is hosting the weekly trading meeting tomorrow, so we discuss our current positions, market views and levels of conviction ahead of that meeting. Tomorrow, the rest of the traders will give feedback on our existing and proposed trade ideas.

5.00pm It’s back to the desk for some breathing space and a review of our trading positions. This usually involves some technical analysis of trends. I am considering putting on a position in the US to exploit the extremely tight levels of credit. This position would profit from an increase in the cost of credit. The key trend to watch is the US 10-year bond versus the 10-year swap rate - I am watching for a break in the trend. There is a US 5-year Treasury Auction tonight at 6.15pm, so I check in with Derek Doody on the USD desk to discuss.

5.30pm At this time of the day, I try to catch up with various upcoming strategy papers and committee presentations, as well as tackle my email. I have a brief chat with Sean Crowe, Head of Trading to discuss the events of the day. At 6.30pm it’s time for the real day job – back home to the family!

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