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Finance Magazine - May 2004 Issue

No house price slowdown as growth of 25p.c. is forecast over five years
The long awaited, much feared, slowdown in Irish residential property prices is still some time away, according to a panel of Ireland’s leading financial services economists, who predict that prices will grow by 25 per cent over the next five years in this, the eighth annual FINANCE property survey.
Northern Trust to distribute in Ireland
Northern Trust, one of the world’s largest fund mangers with over €478 billion under management, has signed an agreement with KBC Asset Manaagement (KBCAM), Ireland’s fourth largest asset manager, to create a new jointly-managed manager of managers (MoM) pension product.
Pershing scores its first two hits
Since becoming a member of the Irish Stock Exchange at the start of this year, Pershing International Securities Limited has already signed up its first two clients, Goodbody Stockbrokers and Bloxham Stockbrokers.
Merrion, Goodbody ready hedge fund launch
Dublinbased financial services groups Merrion Capital and Goodbody Stockbrokers are getting ready to follow Davy Stockbrokers and NCB Stockbrokers in launching hedge funds.
Calling the property market
The state of the Irish property market continues to be a source of fascination for most, and as record prices are still being achieved, it seems that the warnings given by such bodies as the Central Bank and the OECD, in addition to the surveys by The Economist which predicted that the market would fall by 20 per cent, are just that - warnings - with no signs of becoming a reality.
Plotting the next step in creating a single European insurance market
The European Commission recently convened a group of insurance industry experts to review progress made on completing the single European insurance market and to put forward proposals to assist European insurers to transact business on a pan-European basis. Aidan Cassells was a member of that group, and in this article he discusses the findings of a major report they released.
New company start-up boosts demand for hedge fund professionals
Hedge fund professionals are once more in demand this month, with the news that UBS, the Swiss banking group and a key player in the global hedge fund market, is to open a Dublin based hedge fund operation, UBS Fund Services (Ireland) Ltd. The operation, which will be headed up by Mark Mannion, formerly of PFPC International, will open in July with an initial workforce of 6-10 people. This is expected to grow quickly to 30-40. If you have a job, or if you are recruiting for a ‘top job’, which you think should be profiled here, please contact us with the details (email: topjobs@finance-magazine.com)
New product to solve IAS 39 problems
A web-based secure portal providing best practice IAS 39 and risk management solutions for international corporates and financial institutions has been launched by AIB International Financial Services (AIBIFS).
Banking: Agreement reached at last on Basel Accord
Consensus has finally been agreed on the new international capital standard, Basel II, with the new accord to be published at the end of June, and the standardised and foundation approaches to be implemented as of 2006.
Corporate governance overhaul on the way
A proposal to change existing structures in life assurance that would see a greater role for the external auditor, while retaining the statutory position of the appointed actuary, has been put forward by the Society of Actuaries in Ireland.
Obstacles to UK joining euro on the increase - Sir Edward
For the time being, at least, the immediate obstacles to UK membership of the euro have recently tended to increase, Sir Edward George, former governor of The Bank Of England told attendees at an AIB Capital Markets client event in the IFSC on May 13th.
Residential to out-perform other sectors over next five years
The Irish residential market is forecast to beat performance in the retail, commercial and industrial property sectors over the next five years to 2008, economists responding to the eighth annual FINANCE property survey predict.
Property Poll
Ireland’s leading financial services economists give their predictions for the outlook for Ireland’s residential, commercial, retail and industrial sectors over the next five years.
Exchange-traded funds - a useful tool for institutional investors
In advance of the Irish Stock Exchange launching the first exchange-traded fund (ETF) of Irish stocks, Deborah Fuhr gives an overview of the development of the ETF market to date, and the role ETFs can play in institutional investors’ portfolios.
Progress report - the building of a ‘stable platform’ by 2005 for IFRS
Some time ago the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) set itself the objective of having in place by March 2004 a stable platform of those International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) which EU listed companies would be required to adopt in 2005. Much has been done by the IASB in achieving its objective with the issue of seventeen revised standards, but there remain many areas in which we continue to await new standards, Marguerite Larkin writes.
Hedging a portfolio through spread betting
Financial spread betting involves betting on the direction of a financial market without buying or selling the underlying instrument. Because of the relatively high level of gearing and the favourable tax treatment of profits, it can be a useful and effective method of hedging a portfolio or a currency exposure for the short to medium term writes Tony Judge.
FOREX trading in the new EU: When trading or investing in EU accession state currencies hedge to limit the risks
Irish investors and companies trading with the new EU accession states would be well-advised to consider hedging their exposure to movements in the exchange rates of the currencies, writes Aine McCleary.
Risk management: Data integration is key for a successful strategy
Meaningful integrated risk data allows for the examination of potential losses through such angles as product line, risk category, or line of business Christopher Hamilton writes. However, a survey of 193 senior financial executives showed that the cost of new systems, lack of data standards and cultural resistance create major impediments to integrating data, and thus implementing robust risk management regimes.
Countdown to EU integration - the final stages
As the Financial Services Action Plan comes to an end, David Devlin reviews the stages left in creating a single European market for financial services, including the changeover to International Financial Reporting Standards, and the implementation of the Prospectus and Transparency Directives.
Education - the next big thing
In the early days of NCB Stockbrokers, the typical way to train junior dealers was to, ‘let them loose on the market and hope that this learning process didn’t result in too many costly mistakes’, Dermot Desmond told attendees at a lecture given at the National College of Ireland. Unable to afford the losses this incurred Desmond looked to technology for an answer, and he says that today learning via technology has become more important than ever.
MBA combines distance education with face-to-face workshops
Gerry Grenham gives an overview of the Institute of Banker’s MBA programme, and three past pupils discuss how the programme played a key role in their respective careers.
2004 - the year of the IPO?
While one key trend in the Irish capital markets last year was companies going private, with eight stocks de-listing from the Irish Stock Exchange during the year, and another being the number of private placement transactions, with over €2 billion raised in this manner, five months into 2004 a new trend has taken over - the re-emergence of the IPO Sheila O'Donohue writes.
Pension version of the SSIA might be the answer to an ongoing problem
The adequacy of pension provision has received considerable press attention in recent years. However, to most people, the topic remains a subject of little interest and pension coverage remains low in certain categories. Recognising this, the Irish Insurance Federation commissioned Life Strategies to calculate the retirement savings shortfall in the Irish market. Padraic O’Malley examines the findings of the report.
$1 trillion industry offers huge potential to Irish market
Hedge funds can play a much bigger role in Ireland’s investment funds industry, through the increasing allocation by pension fund managers of assets to hedge funds, the establishment of new managers, the use of hedge funds by private clients, and the continuing development of an Irish based servicing industry, delegates at the Irish Alternative Investment Forum were told.
Funds and foreign taxes - is the tax refundable?
Recent media reports suggested that funds suffered billions of euros of withholding taxes on their income, which they could avoid or have refunded to them. However, the position is more complex than media headlines might suggest, Brian Daly writes, and in some cases this tax is unavoidable.
Careers: The tax implications of cross border employment
The Celtic Tiger has led to many non-Irish persons coming to Ireland to take up employment, and many Irish people who had emigrated, returning to employment. There are tax advantages and tax traps waiting for the newly arrived employee John Bradley says.
Approved retirement funds, the ability to gear up for property investment in particular, and the of launch of PRSAs have all focused attention on pensions as an exciting savings option. It is important that exciting options be viewed with a cool eye.
Hedge fund strategies
The global hedge fund market is now worth over $1 trillion. This column identifies the key strategies adopted by hedge funds.
A Day in the Life of a futures dealer
John Wallace is managing director of MKW Futures, a financial futures broker/dealer based on the Finex Europe Exchange in the IFSC. MKW Futures is also an ‘introducing broker’ of Refco LLC, the largest clearer of customer based futures business in the world. Its affiliation with Refco commenced in 2003 and has led to a significant increase in its business activity onto other futures exchanges as well as Finex. John has been a member of the board of the Exchange in New York since 1996.
Who’s who in finance: Pat Lardner, Director - Head of Institutional Business, Ireland, Bank of Ireland Asset Management Limited.
Asset allocation - the forgotten investment tool
With the only significant asset allocation change in Irish pension funds over the past number of years being a switch out of Irish equities into Eurozone equities, Pramit Ghose says it is time to change. He says that trustees will have to actively manage their asset and fund manager mix if they are to generate sufficient additional investment performance to persuade sponsoring employers that pensions can still be funded at an acceptable economic cost.
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