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Finance Magazine - December 2003 Issue

 
Dublin has highest vacant office rate in Europe at 17.7 p.c., but is just one of 2 cities where trend is down
Although Dublin has the highest office vacancy rate in Europe, ahead of Stockholm and Budapest, it is one of only two cities in which the rate declined in Q3 according to the Jones Long LaSalle office clock, which illustrates short-term trends in prime face rental values in the prime location within each market.
Watch for the Finance Bill
The Budget contained sufficient substantial measures that there was little focus on matters expected to be referred to in the budget, on which the Minister was silent. Typically the budget is such of the good news as the Minister wishes to break on live television. Bad news, and measures difficult to put over in a ‚€úsound bite‚€Ě may be expected in the Finance Bill in February 2004.
Budget 2004 - ‚€ėthoughtful, well crafted‚€ô
Mr McCreevy‚€ôs 2004 Budget represents an essential investment in all our futures. It is about future jobs and future prosperity. The key measures were the tax credit for research and development, the exemption from stamp duty on intellectual property, and the introduction of a holding company regime. Much of the rest - personal tax changes, are a distraction from these key reforming features, according to the latest issue of the KPMG Tax Monitor.
Companies may continue to face deficits on their pension schemes into 2004 despite rise in equity markets.
Despite the rise in equities experienced by global markets during 2003, some corporate pension funds may still be disclosing deficits on their pension schemes under Financial Reporting Standard 17: Retirement Benefits, writes Brendan Sheridan, in this overview of the significance of fluctuating investment markets for the pension schemes of our major corporates.
Interest rates will only increase marginally in 2004, but the euro will continue to strenghten against both the dollar and pound
Niall Dunne (left) says the dominant themes of 2004 will be the continuing strengthening of the euro ‚€‘ to 1.30 against the dollar, the slight increase in interest rates in the Euro zone, and the key role America will play in determining global economic conditions. On the question of to hedge or not to hedge, he says, 'no exposure should ever be left totally unhedged, unless that is a decided policy, due to the market‚€ôs unpredictability'.
EBS follows Unicredito and launches CD programme
The second Irish Certificates of Deposit (CD) programme has been launched by EBS Building Society as part of a combined ‚ā¨1 billion Euro CD and Euro Commercial Paper (CP) programme. This follows on from the first ‚ā¨5 billion programme established by Unicredito Italiano Bank in October. (See last month's issue).
Venture capital investment down on 2002
The value of venture capital deals in Ireland has decreased by over 50 per cent, or by ‚ā¨20 million, in the third quarter of 2003, compared to Q3 2002. In 2002, ‚ā¨41.87 million worth of deals were transacted up to Q3, compared to ‚ā¨20.30 million for Q3 of last year.
Corporates issue bonds to pay down debt
Both Waterford Wedgewood and Independent News & Media have issued corporate bonds in an effort to reduce their debt.
HQ regime puts Ireland ‚€ėin the driving seat‚€ô
The decision in this year‚€ôs Budget to make Ireland a more attractive location for headquarters/holding companies has been broadly welcomed by the financial services industry, who see it as a chance for Irish based subsidiaries of international companies to play a greater role in determining the company‚€ôs strategic objectives.
Corporate boards need more investor representation
Corporate boards are relying too heavily on ‚€ėfinancial experts‚€ô such as chief financial officers to fill directorships, say Thomas A. Bowman and Joe Kavanagh. Instead boards should look to appoint true investor advocates - directors who have spent their professional lives directly serving investors and who have demonstrated their commitment to place investor interests first - they say, particularly in Ireland where there is little or no direct institutional investor representation on Irish boards.
 
 
Irish deals up for UK award
 
Windfarm deal closes
 
Butler moves to Davy
 
Irish VC guide launched
 
LMA to price Irish loans
 
New managing partners appointed at KPMG and Matheson Ormsby Prentice
Denis O'Connor and Liam Quirke have been appointed managing partners of leading accountancy and law firms, KPMG and Matheson Ormbsy Prentice (MOP), respectively.
Head of FSI warns of threat of over-regulation
‚€ėI regret to say that there is a palpable sense of unease within the financial sector in Ireland about what is becoming an over-regulated business environment,‚€ô chairman of Financial Services Ireland (FSI), William Slattery told attendees at the Annual Members‚€ô Dinner of FSI at the Four Seasons Hotel on Tuesday, December 9th. Pictured are (l-r) Willie Slattery, the Tanaiste Mary Harney, and director of FSI, Aileen O'Donoghue.
ESB and Bord na Mona take top prizes
 
Employers in driving seat
 
Tips for 2004 - FINANCE 'Analysts of the Year' 2003 put forward their stock recommendations for 2004.
The winners in the 2003 FINANCE Stockbroking Survey ‚€ėBest Analyst Categories‚€ô give an overview of what the coming year may hold for the companies in the sectors they cover, and which companies are the ones to watch into 2004.
Euro to continue to rise in 2003
Niall Dunne says the dominant themes of 2004 will be the continuing strengthening of the euro - to 1.30 against the dollar, the slight increase in interest rates in the Euro zone, and the key role America will play in determining global economic conditions.
Treasury profile: how Ryanair does it
The underlying principles that determine how Ryanair‚€ôs treasury carries out its functions are the risk-averse nature of the Ryanair Group and the fact that the department is a cost centre and not a profit centre writes Neil Sorahan (pictured right). Treasury activities and risks are managed so that their potential impact does not adversely affect Ryanair‚€ôs financial objectives of increasing EBITDA, maintaining margins and reducing costs.
High net worth individuals get a taste again for the stock markets
Brian Weber says direct participation by private clients in the stock market was at its lowest in the second half of 2002 through to the first half of 2003, but that the tide has now turned and private client investor appetite has perked up since early summer.
Credit derivatives top the list of ‚€ėBanana Skins‚€ô for 2004
The development of the credit derivatives market has enabled banks to transfer credit risks to other financial institutions, principally the insurance sector, thus protecting themselves. However, the jury is out on whether credit derivatives can effectively mitigate risk. Conor Griffin reports on the 2003 'Banana Skins Report', which reveals that respondents to the 2003 survey have voted credit derivatives as being their main concern over the coming years.
Irish bank ratings hold up well in an international context
Irish banks financial profiles compare well with their European and US counterparts, writes Michelle Brennan of Standard & Poor's, although the sector still faces strategic challenges, such as the role of overseas activity, increasing competition and the fear that the rapid rise in credit growth may lead to future financial system problems.
Dublin grows in importance as issuance and investment centre
With two domestic issues during 2003, Ireland‚€ôs share in the European securitisation market has increased, and as of the end of Q2, 2003, Ireland accounted for three per cent of total issuance in Europe delegates at the second annual Finance Dublin International Securitisation Conference were told. Pictured are speakers on the arbitrage funds panel (l-r): Ray Wyer, director, Bank of Ireland International Finance, Donal Daly, managing director, Avoca Capital and Alan Kerr,credit analyst and loan portfolio manager, Harbourmaster Capital.
Budget 2004 - ‚€ėthoughtful, well crafted‚€ô
Mr McCreevy‚€ôs 2004 Budget represents an essential investment in all our futures. It is about future jobs and future prosperity. The key measures were the tax credit for research and development, the exemption from stamp duty on intellectual property, and the introduction of a holding company regime. Much of the rest - personal tax changes, are a distraction from these key reforming features.
Watch for the Finance Bill
The Budget contained sufficient substantial measures that there was little focus on matters expected to be referred to in the budget, on which the Minister was silent. Typically the budget is such of the good news as the Minister wishes to break on live television. Bad news, and measures difficult to put over in a 'sound bite' may be expected in the Finance Bill in February 2004 says Conor O'Brien in this analysis of Budget 2004.
Introduction to securities lending
Lorcan Tiernan and Peter Stapleton examine the development of securities lending, which was introduced in Ireland in 1999.
Ergometrics and financial services
Dashboard reporting is a key element of the change that Cooperative Financial Services (CFS) has effected as part of the coming together of The Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) writes John Hanlon. He says that it is making cultural changes that have a positive impact on the business structure.
Insurance - who is winning and who is slipping, as the non-life sector picks up with profits of ‚ā¨217 million
The IIF figures recently released simply detail the gross premium income from life and pensions and gross written premiums in the non-life sector. But to facilitate a more detailed analysis of who has gained and who has lost market share, FINANCE has conducted its own analysis of the IIF figures to establish who has fared best and worst in the Irish market. The life and pensions market continues to experience tough trading conditions Brendan McGrath finds in this analysis of the market shares of Irish insurers. However, he also finds that the non-life sector has recovered remarkably, and boasted double-digit premium growth in 2002.
Accountancy: price war to be a feature of market going forward as big four move into mid-tier territory
As a result of the Sarbanes Oxley inspired restrictions in relation to providing other services, the big four accountancy firms will increasingly be chasing more mid-tier clientele, which will result in an all-out price war between the big four and mid tier firms, as they seek to replace lost revenue sources with new clients writes Anthuan Xavier.
IFRS - where has ‚€ėearnings‚€ô gone?
With the IASB currently revieing the presentation of financial performance, the format of the income statement, the statement of changes in equity, and the cash flow statement, are all set to change says John McDonnell.
Who's who in Finance: Jeffrey R. Holland, Managing Director, Brown Brothers Harriman
 
Day in the Life: an investor relations adviser
Jonathan Neilan is a principal of K Capital Source, an independent capital market communications and advisory practice, which was founded in October 2002, following the ‚ā¨3.8 billion leveraged buy-out of Jefferson Smurfit Group, and offers investor relations advice.
Who's who in Finance: Ciaran McNamara, Director, Investec Ireland Ltd
 
Who's who in Finance: Olwyn Alexander, Senior Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers Funds Group, Dublin, CFA Charter
 
The outlook for Jobs in Finance and Financial Services in 2004 - recruiters express cautious optimism about an upturn
A survey conducted by FINANCE in November and December amongst a selection of the leading financial services recruitment agencies has revealed that it is still an employers‚€ô market, but recruiters are hoping for renewed growth this year. Cathy Madden reports on the outlook, and gleans some tips from top recruiters for those who might be contemplating a career move in the new year.
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