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Finance Magazine - October 2001 Issue

Treasurers warn Irish companies against euro complacency
Back office systems are expected to take the brunt of euro changeover problems and could be the source of bottlenecks after January 1st. But treasurers remain confident that financial services and top corporates will be able to cope.
Borrowers advised to consider switching from variable to fixed loans
While short-term interest rates seem to be heading southward at an alarming rate, the longer view may not be so bleak. According to ten of Ireland’s leading interest rate specialists, the next few months may represent a trough in interest rates and an opportunity for borrowers to switch between variable and fixed rate loans.
‘Safe cosy consensus’ attacked
The capacity of PPPs to deliver important public services, such as roads and schools, has been called into doubt by Ireland’s leading PPP academic.
Dr. Eileen Fitzpatrick is new chairman of IAIM
Dr. Eileen Fitzpatrick has been elected chairman of the Irish Association of Investment Managers.
Irish venture capital investment benefits 400 companies
Over the past four years almost 400 indigenous companies have benefited from venture capital finance which now exceeds IEP376m (E477m), according to the Irish Venture Capital Association report on investment activity.
Financial services remain confident despite downturn
The current level of uncertainty in the Irish economy was reflected in a survey conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.
Less equities produced better performance
The average Irish managed fund fell by 14 per cent in the third quarter of the year according to the latest figures published by Mercer Consultants.
Irish fund managers lead
Irish fund managers are performing extremely well in the tendering process for fund managers for the National Pension Reserve Fund of the NTMA.
Banking industry launches customer focused euro campaign
The banking industry is ready for the challenge of the Euro, and geared up to ensure that it is ‘business as usual’ for customers when the full changeover occurs from January 1, 2002.
Minister says no to ‘wrappers’
The Minister for Finance, Mr. Charlie McCreevy has revised legislation in the Finance Bill 2001, as and from September 26, 2001, to prevent investors from taking advantage of a loophole which allowed them to use life policies to gain tax advantages.
Healthcare insurance reviewed
The Centre for Insurance Studies held its sixth annual PMI conference on 5th October 2001 in The Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, University College Dublin.
Forex present cheque
Mr. Brendan Seaver, country treasurer of Bank of America, presenting a cheque for ¬£32,500 on behalf of the Forex Ireland Golf Society to Dr Charles Gallagher of the National Referral Centre for Adult Cystic Fibrosis at a reception held in St. Vincent‚€ôs Hospital, on October 4, 2001.
Deloittes launch insurance consultancy
Deloitte & Touche, a professional services firm, has launched an insurance actuarial and consulting practice in Ireland, B&W Deloitte.
One month after the terrorist attacks in the USA, psychological and economic effects of the tragedy are still reverberating around the world.
Pension chief calls for full disclosure
John Feely, the recently elected chairman of the Irish Association of Pension Funds, had called for full disclosure of pension costs. In an address to an IAPF conference in September he said these disclosures should include all details from charges to likely future benefits, and the risks of adopting particular approaches. He believes that disclosure will need to be driven by legislation and the adoption of industry standards.
Leading banker outlines IFSC’s underlying strengths
Country representative of ABN AMRO in Ireland, Gerry Roseingrave spoke to Finance on why he sees a bright future for the centre.
Increasing efficiencies gained through technology
Many financial services companies are reaping tangible rewards from implementation of integrated technology systems, says Emer Golden.
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
Noel Griffin, head of treasury division, Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Limited
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
Aziz McMahon, treasury economist at Ulster Bank Group Treasury
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
Austin Hughes, chief economist IIB Bank
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers
Interest rate cuts create window of opportunity for borrowers
Ten of Ireland’s interest rate specialists outline their opinion of the long term interest rate market and agree that it is decision time for euro borrowers. While most agree that the next few months offer a chance for borrowers to look at their long term interest rates and to consider whether they should have a variable or fixed rate on loans, there is disagreement as to the timing of any bounce back in rates.
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
James Jordan, Bank of America, foreign exchange sales and trading
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
Oliver Mangan, AIB Treasury and International, FX & IRM Dublin, AIB International Centre
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
Enda Coll, Anglo Irish Bank
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
Dominick Sutton, director, chief economist of Investec Ireland
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
Dermot O’Brien, chief economist at NCB Stockbrokers
Weak interest rates forecast until 2003
Colin Hunt, head of research at Goodbody Stockbrokers
Stronger branding needed for financial services
An increasingly crowded market place and higher customer expectations mean financial services need to engage customers on a more emotional level. Philip Barlow suggests they can achieve this through branding.
Balancing tight security with data storage demands
Balancing the need for a tight internet security network with data storage demands means financial services companies face a must walk a tight rope amongst thieves. Jim Martin believes outsourcing is the only solution in a market where IT professionals are thin on the ground.
Trade War Threat
Ongoing rows between the EU and the USA on trade matters are not attracting the attention they deserve. If not resolved, they could present a serious threat to Ireland’s economic prosperity. Punitive customs duties could hurt Ireland.
Lobbying the Minister
The key provisions of the December 6 Budget will be decided over the next several weeks. The Minister’s focus has to be sharply on jobs. Not just those of his colleagues facing an election in the coming year, but more particularly the jobs of those who will vote in that election. Should the Minister tire of such weighty issues, there are several more minor but worthy areas to which he might usefully turn his attention.
A look at share options again
The taxation of share options was the hot topic prior to Budget 2001. The Finance Act delivered a proposal (approved share option schemes) that meets no objective other than that of appearing to do something. The taxation of share options should be reviewed from scratch.
Introduction to Covered Bonds
The EU favour the introduction of environmental taxes by the Member States. The current government’s programme promises the introduction of green taxes in Ireland. So far little has happened. What may be in the pipeline?
Standardising STP will beef up the back office
John Anderson examines the problems and complexities facing Straight Through Processing in an increasingly globalised context. He looks at the tools and organisations available to help standardise back office procedures and says companies need to devote more resources to this issue.
Job seekers still prefer newspapers to the internet
Hilarie Geary reports on the results of a recent survey which examined how effective websites are as recruitment tools.
How globalisation can alleviate the plight of the poor
Speaking to the International Humbert School in Ballina, Paul Tansey looks at how globalisation must develop in order to become more inclusive internationally.
Installing temporary management aids efficiency
Interim management is an increasing trend in Ireland as more companies show reluctance to commit to a permanent overhead in terms of their resourcing requirements. many organisations are also looking for flexible ways to resource their businesses in the face of headcount embargoes. Interim management also allows organisations to tap into broader pools of talent and expertise. John Kelly from InterIM Solutions, the interim management company of MERC Partners, explains how the concept works.
Who‚€ôs who in Finance: Brenda Buckley, Managing Director, Fortis Fund Services (Ireland) Limited
Who’s who in Finance: Alan Walsh, Finance Director, Enterprise IG (formerly The Identity Business)
Who's who in Finance: Gerry O'Brien, Finance Director, Prudential Europe Management Services Ltd
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