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Finance Magazine - April 2005 Issue

ECJ’s decisions to have significant impact
Following on from the judgment issued by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the Arthur Andersen case on March 3rd, which confirmed that the Advocate General’s opinion that ‘back office’ insurance services provided by a third-party outsourced agent do not qualify for VAT exemption, the ECJ has made two recommendations in favour of the tax payer. However, the full decision on both issues won’t be made for another six months.
Taoiseach’s response to over-regulation welcomed
Both industry and professional services sources have offered a warm welcome to the Taoiseach’s plan to re-assess the controversial Section 45. This response reflects growing concerns about Ireland’s onerous regulatory regime amongst industry, in the face of increasing media criticism about a lack of regulation.
US private placement trend continues
Irish corporate Kingspan has just transacted a $200 mn deal.
Media bashing of industry may have serious implications for future development of sector
In the rush to criticise recent developments in the international financial services industry, ‘we’ve created a distorted caricature of the industry here which is not deserved – and which can be counter-productive’, David Went recently told attendees at a Leinster Society of Chartered Accountants meeting, on the same day, April 6th, that William Slattery, chief executive of State Street International, delivered the same message at the 6th Annual Finance Dublin Conference, indicating the strength of feeling in the industry regarding the handling in the media of recent developments at General Re.
Ex-RSM partners new firm employs 30 people already
Following on from the announcement in February that three former partners of investment advisory firm RSM Robson Rhodes had left the firm to establish a joint venture with the Chiltern group, the new firm has been called Kinetic Partners.
Forde appointed new president of IoB
Donal Forde, AIB’s managing director, has been appointed president of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland, assuming the role from Ted McGovern, chief executive of EBS Building Society. Pictured at the handover of the chain of office in the Institute’s offices in North Wall Quay are (l-r) Donal Forde and Ted McGovern.
FGS joins list of PCAOB registered Irish accountants
Farrell Grant Sparks has qualified for registration with US Accounting Standards Board, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), bringing the total number of Irish registered firms up to seven.
FGS joins list of PCAOB registered Irish accountants
Farrell Grant Sparks has qualified for registration with US Accounting Standards Board, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), bringing the total number of Irish registered firms up to seven.
Tax facts launched
The publication is a practical and easy-to-follow guide to the Irish tax system for Irish business.
Regulatory overkill is main risk facing banks according to Banana Skins 2005
The remorseless rise in regulation has become the greatest risk facing the banking sector according to the latest ‘Banana Skins’ survey conducted by the CSFI, the independent City of London think tank, and sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report finds that regulatory overkill saps bank resources, reduces risk diversification and creates a false sense of security. Alan Merriman examines the findings of the report, in which credit risk is the second biggest risk.
Financial services directors to go under the spotlight
IFSRA has released a consultation paper to seek the views and opinions of industry participants and the general public on a proposed new regime for determining whether or not directors and managers within the financial services sector have the requisite skills and qualities to perform their functions effectively. Paul Ryan and Tom Carney examine the implications for new and incumbent directors.
Fund administrators find it difficult to recruit the right personnel
The recent announcement that PFPC, the US funds servicing company, will consolidate its US and international alternative groups under a single management structure headed by Joan Kehoe in Dublin, will mean that PFPC will increase its Irish work force by 300 to 770. However, this will not be an easy task, as attracting good graduates with the ability to quickly contribute to the business has proven exceptionally difficult, Joan Kehoe tells FINANCE.
Cross-border mortgage lending will soon be possible - but will banks release products?
The European Commission is likely to issue a Green Paper on the integration of EU mortgage credit markets this summer and finalise its position by year-end. While the Commission’s intervention could have a major impact on the mortgage lending landscape throughout Europe, lenders will still need a strong business case and innovative product offerings to enter new markets, writes Eimer O’Rourke of Irish Bankers Federation.
Regulatory burden likely to pressure insurance companies further
The raft of new regulations facing the insurance industry is placing an increasing strain on companies’ resources to fulfil their statutory obligations, writes Brian Clavin, who advises regulators to be aware of the cumulative effect of their changes.
Good governance is not a worthy cause – it is simply good management practice
A lot of lip service has been given recently to ‘good corporate governance’ as if it was good for goodness sake, but management should, and will only apply themselves to activities that will generate long-term value. Cormac Murphy offers advice on what the Irish financial services industry should learn from the recent ‘governance’ debate.
Salary levels are forecast to increase at a slower rate
Salary levels are expected to increase by an average of 3.6 per cent in 2005 compared with an average of 4.6 per cent in 2004, according to Mercer's annual International Financial Services Remuneration Guide. Pictured are Mary McDermott and Kevin McGowan.
Careers in finance & financial services: finding inspiration in the world of accountancy
Working as an accountant has provided Ber Carroll with the perfect background for writing novels on the world of international business, where the walls have ears, you're only as good as your next deal and perspective can easily be lost. However, with writing now her main focus,having just published her second book ‘Just Business’, the corporate world is now her inspiration rather than a daily battle.
IAIM member survey: retail assets rise by 17 per cent in 2004 to €22 bn
Retail assets of Irish Association of Investment Managers (IAIM) members rose by 17 per cent in 2004 to reach €22 billion, boosted by the contribution from Special Savings Investment Accounts (SSIAs) at €560 million, writes Gary Connolly.
US PCAOB extends EU co-operation
The US Congress responded to the recent spate of corporate scandals with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and by setting up the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which operates as an independent, private-sector regulator. Its chairman, William J. McDonough, outlines its mission and the need for co-operation with E.U. initiatives.
Art market is no longer just for art lovers
Just as the property market has become a widely accepted investment class, the art market is now poised for a similar transformation, writes Bruce D. Taub. With the Mei/Moses index showing that the art market has held its own against the S&P 500, and outperformed the equities market in recent years, art is now a real alternative investment, and due to the non-correlation of price movement between art and other assets, the market offers significant opportunity to investors willing to do the research. But just as equity investors segment the market into ‘large-cap’ and ‘small-cap’ companies within a sector, it is equally important to segment within sectors of the art market, he adds.
New funds offer access to property companies not properties
Irish investors looking to gain access to Eurozone property markets, without the hassle involved in actually buying a property, may be interested in two new funds recently launched on the market. AIB's European Property Stocks Fund and Eagle Star's Eurozone Property Fund invest in property companies rather than property itself, by tracking the European Public Real Estate Association Eurozone Index.
Personal taxation: is the denial of PAYE credit over the top?
The denial to certain directors and employees of credit for PAYE deducted from their remuneration is so widely drafted in the Finance Act that it may well be unconstitutional writes Robert Dowley in this month's KPMG Tax Monitor. And not only that, but It may well also be in breach of the Human Rights Act. However, he adds that the affected directors and employees, are unlikely to be able to afford the luxury of a trip to the High Court or the Supreme Court to establish that decision.
We must do better
The Irish tax code is designed to encourage economic development by creating an environment which is attractive for investment. Recent Finance Acts have highlighted flaws in our legislative system that could endanger domestic and inward investment. These flaws have been long present, often highlighted, but appear to attract no appetite for reform, writes Brian Daly.
Landmark European Court opinion on VAT planning
The ECJ, in a preliminary opinion which has yet to be confirmed by the Court, has confirmed the right of taxpayers in Europe to enter into legitimate tax planning arrangements in the context of VAT. It has however confirmed that this right is subject to the general principle that these rights must not be abused. Pending the final decision of the Court, there must now be uncertainty regarding the legality of the general anti-avoidance rule contained in Irish law in so far as it applies to VAT and other taxes governed by European law.
What is a credit default swap? - Part 1
CreditTrade, the financial services information provider offers an introduction to credit default swaps (CDS) – contracts which provide users with a contractual mechanism for transferring the credit risk inherent in bonds, loans and other credit intensive instruments without disturbing the structure or legal ownership of the underlying asset.
A Day in the Life: global ambitions at Bank of Ireland Global Markets
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.
Who’s who in Finance: Martin Cole, Enterprise Partner, Mazars
Finance Dublin Conference 2005: regulation to the fore, but overall mood is upbeat
While concerns about over-regulation and under-regulation were top of the agenda at the recent 6th Annual Finance Dublin Conference, the overall mood at the two-day event was optimistic, with numerous new opportunities for the sector outlined, by speakers such as Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, Minister for Finance Brian Cowen, and Eircom chief financial officer Peter E.Lynch, (pictured) who delivered a speech on his experiences as CFO of one of Europe’s largest telecoms companies.
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