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Finance Magazine - February 2005 Issue

 
NPRF shuns hedge funds due to ‘lack of regulation’
Last August the €11.7 billion National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) declared its desire to invest in hedge funds. However, it has now shunned these funds due to ‘the rapid growth in the asset class which could crowd out successful strategies, the difficulties in identifying consistent top quartile managers and the lack of regulation of the sector.’ Pictured at the launch of its annual report are (l-r): Michael J. Somers, CEO National Treasury Management Agency and Donal Geaney, chairman of the National Pension Reserve Fund.
Share certificates soon to be a thing of the past
A working group has been established to commence the process towards dematerialisation of the securities of listed entities in Ireland. Dematerialisation involves the removal of paper certificates from the issuance, securities trading and post trade processing cycles of securities admitted to trading on the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE). The move follows developments in other markets, with the UK now currently on track to achieve dematerialisation of its market.
Strong Irish pension fund asset growth still outpaced
Assets held by Irish institutional pension funds outperformed their European peers in 2004, growing by almost 10 per cent, but this was still not sufficient to match the increase in fund liabilities recorded during the year, according to a report from Watson Wyatt.
NCB opens London office
NCB has become the first Irish stockbroking firm to establish an institutional presence in the London market. NCB head of equities Tommy Conway said the company was taking advantage of the opportunity to establish itself as an Irish broker with a European perspective. The London branch will be responsible for producing research coverage of the key FTSE 100 sectors and stocks. This research will be made available to the member firms of European Securities Network (ESN) and their domestic continental clients as well as selling to the UK.
Harmonising prudential and financial reporting requirements across Europe
The recent introduction of the new International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the impending implementation of the new Capital Requirements Directive (CRD) provide the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) - established in 2003 - with the ideal opportunity to harmonise reporting requirements across Europe, writes Debra McCarthy.
Market Abuse Directive is ‘ambiguous and lacks direction’
Information is becoming increasingly available regarding the impact of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) on European listed companies. In certain EU member states, for example - Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxemburg ‑ a high proportion of companies are already adopting IFRS. In others, for example ‑ UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Italy ‑ companies have not as yet implemented IFRS, writes Brendan Sheridan, as legislative requirements do not permit financial statements to be prepared in accordance with IFRS prior to 2005.
Diversify now
Irish equities have performed extremely well over the past ten years, and have returned 29.1 per cent in the 12 months to December 2004. Driven by high-performers such as Anglo Irish Bank, the ISEQ out-performed all other markets in 2004, with its nearest rival being Pacific (ex-Japan), which returned a more modest 16.5 per cent.
New head at IACT
Patrick King, group financial accountant and treasurer with Jurys Doyle, has been elected president of the Irish Association of Corporate Treasurers (IACT). He assumes the role from James Ryan, academic director at DCU. King joined Jurys in March 1990 as a trainee accountant and has since held various roles within the organisation. He was responsible for the opening of Jurys Inn Christchurch in 1993 and over the following two years he held a number of finance positions with the Group in the UK.
New head at IACT
Patrick King, group financial accountant and treasurer with Jurys Doyle, has been elected president of the Irish Association of Corporate Treasurers (IACT). He assumes the role from James Ryan, academic director at DCU. King joined Jurys in March 1990 as a trainee accountant and has since held various roles within the organisation. He was responsible for the opening of Jurys Inn Christchurch in 1993 and over the following two years he held a number of finance positions with the Group in the UK.
Gill takes over from Hunt at Goodbody
Joe Gill has been appointed research director with Goodbody Stockbrokers, assuming the research role of Colin Hunt, who left in November last year to take up a position as special advisor to the Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen.
RSM partners set up new investment advisory firm Chiltern
The former managing partner of RSM Robson Rhodes Ireland, Raymond O’Neill, along with two other former partners of the chartered accountancy firm, David Butler and Julian Korek, are establishing a new global investment management advisory firm. Over the last five years, the three established a financial services group at Robson Rhodes.
New private property company launched
Ciaran McNamara, a former director with Investec Ireland, and Enda Woods, a member of Investec’s private banking team, have set up a new company, Signature Capital, specialising in the sourcing, structuring and financing of asset backed investments.
Fund companies line up to get a slice of €1 bn market
MM Asset Management, the UK multi-manager, is the latest firm to offer multi-manager funds to Irish pension and institutional clients. Multi manager schemes allow investment managers allocate parts of a portfolio to other managers while taking responsibility for asset allocation and manager selection.
The stars are well aligned for a bumper mergers and acquisitions market in 2005
All the ingredients are in place for a bumper mergers and acquisitions market this year, writes Peter Crowley, as confidence, liquidity, and the desire to exit or expand ventures conspire to create the ideal environment for deal making. He says that the primary driver of activity is undoubtedly the combination of a 'hot' LBO debt market, with an unprecedented ‘wall’ of private equity, both institutional and private.
Numerous opportunities exist for international sector to develop further says new report
Last February the IDA appointed Deloitte to conduct a review of Ireland’s international financial services sector and to identify possible threats and opportunities for the sector going forward. Paul Reck summarises the final report, which was published in December, and which highlights five main opportunities for growth.
US private placement market allows corporate borrowers to optimise their financial flexibility
Over the past 24 months, seven Irish corporates have completed US private placements with a total value of $2.9 billion. James Lidierth and Andrew Fitzpatrick examine how the US private placement market has enabled Irish corporates to raise finance from US institutional investors on highly competitive terms.
‘Fearless Forecast’ 2005 says Japan and the UK are the markets to watch
The Irish equity market has significantly outperformed its global peers over the past 12 months, writes Tom Geraghty, but a survey of global investment managers has predicted that for a second year in a row, Japan, along with the United Kingdom will be the most attractive equity markets this year.
Dematerialisation is essential to keep Irish trading practices in line with best international practice
An extensive consultation carried out by the Irish Stock Exchange in 2004 with Irish and UK market participants established that dematerialisation, which would lead to a paperless market, should be pursued as a matter of priority by the Irish equity market, so that practices are in line with best international practice. Failure to progress this issue will be a significant competitive disadvantage to the Irish market, says Brian Healy
Irish managed funds are over-invested in Irish equities
There’s no doubt about it ‑ Irish equities have been the ‘good thing’ in terms of equity investment over the last ten years. In that period, our little market has managed to outperform global equities by a massive 13 per cent per annum, with out-performance registered in nine of the last ten years, writes Grainne Alexander. However, she believes that pension managed funds have reached the stage where they have become ‘unbalanced’, with allocation to Irish equities back up towards the 20 per cent level, and she recommends a broader geographical approach to investing.
Accountants with Sarb-Ox and Basel II experience are doing well
The buzz words in accountancy today are Sarbanes-Oxley, IAS and Basel II, writes Jeanette Naughton, and she says that salaries in these areas are quite attractive and candidates with hands-on experience will be paid a premium.
Careers in finance and financial services: Profile of an accountant
The role of an accountant has changed considerably over the past number of years, and while a head for numbers is still important, Vincent MacMahon, a partner with the Investment Management Audit and Business Advisory Services practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dublin, says that to excel in the profession, a desire to work with other people is what is really needed.
Corporate securitisation offers lifeline for pressured sub-investment grade companies
Corporate securitisation has become an increasingly popular method of raising finance across Europe. In Ireland, corporates are now starting to examine the benefits this method of funding offers, with Smart Telecom shortly expected to raise up to €20 million. Declan Lynch looks at the benefits of this tool for European sub-investment grade companies.
A Day in the Life: project financier
Síona Meghen recently joined the project finance team of IIB Bank as associate director, where she oversees projects across a number of sectors including energy and waste; Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects in areas such as roads, social housing and health; and leveraged deals.
Who’s who in Finance: Paul Droop, Senior investment consultant, Watson Wyatt LLP
 
Finance Bill introduces enabling provisions for introduction of IFRS in Ireland
A number of changes were introduced in the Finance Bill 2005 of relevance to the finance and financial services sector, including enabling provisions in relation to the use of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for taxation purposes in Ireland.
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