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Finance Magazine - December 2005 Issue

Economists predict rates to rise further by 75 bp over coming year
Ireland’s leading financial services economists, responding to a survey in this issue, have predicted that interest rates will continue to rise in the Eurozone, and that the time for fixing borrowings has passed, with interest rates in the Euro zone set to ‘normalise’ after years of record lows.
Fund managers will be the winners in end-of-year Christmas bonuses
Fund managers, stockbrokers and senior managers in corporate banking can expect to get as much as 100 per cent of their salary as end-of-year bonuses this Christmas.
Ireland’s largest RMBS deal
First Active plc, part of the Ulster Bank Group, has raised €1.75 billion through the launch of its ninth public residential mortgage backed securitisation (RMBS). This is the largest Irish issue to date, building on the on-going First Active Celtic securitisation programme.
Capital tax abolished
The financial services industry has welcomed the move by Minister for Finance Brian Cowen TD to make Ireland more ‘capital’ friendly, by removing the capital duty on shares in this year’s Budget.
Budget 2006 - end of the employment offshore nest egg?
One new measure in the Budget 2006 will not have found favour with many foreign financial services companies operating in Ireland. This was the abolition of the ‘remittance basis’ of taxation for employment income.
Q3 sees decline but industry continues to grow buoyed by life sciences investment
Irish venture capital investment has declined in Q3, according to the latest figures from Ernst & Young, but the year-to-date figures paint a more positive picture, with life sciences emerging as the next major investment sector, according to industry experts.
Interesting times
This month's editorial reviews the current interest rate environment as assessed by this month's assembled panel and tries to predict the future consequences of this environment.
AIB launches healthcare fund
AIB Corporate Banking Ireland has launched a new €300 million fund to be made available for the healthcare sector. The move follows the Government’s announcement in the recent Budget that it would continue its tax incentives for psychiatric hospitals, private hospitals, day care facilities and specialist clinics.
Barclays arranges €40mn loan for Airtricity
Airtricity, the renewable energy company, has closed a debt facility arranged by Barclays Capital, worth over €40 million. The deal will support the further development of Airtricity’s wind farm portfolio in Ireland, the UK and the USA in the coming years.
New multi-manager product launched
Canada Life Assurance (Ireland) Limited, the pensions and life assurance provider, has linked up with SEI Investments (Europe) Limited, the European subsidiary of investment manager SEI, to offer a ‘manager-of-managers’ funds product.
First Irish client for HML
Homeloan Management (HML), the Derry based provider of systems and process outsourcing solutions to the mortgage sector, is targeting Irish financial institutions to outsource their mortgage servicing.
New appointments
New stockbroking appointments.
BOI Global Markets to target US market
BOI Global Markets has launched a new growth strategy, which will see the treasury/ capital markets division of Bank of Ireland, aim to double its profits over the next five years by expanding internationally.
Interest rates are set to rise to 3 per cent in the Eurozone by Q1 2007 as ECB aims to ‘normalise’ rates
Ireland’s leading financial services economists almost unanimously predict that interest rates in the Eurozone will rise an additional 75 basis points by the first quarter of 2007. However, there is not such a clear agreement with respect to US and UK rates, as although the economists agree that US rates will continue to rise, there is no consensus on the degree of the rise, and in the UK, some believe rates will continue to rise, while others predict a fall.
Merger mysteries - creating a single European market for funds
If the EU wants to create an efficient funds industry and truly promote the free movement of capital, it should enhance the EU Framework for Investment Funds and create a true framework for the cross-border consolidation of funds, says the Forum of European Asset Managers.
FOREX opportunities for 2006 – Swedish Kroner to be biggest mover
At the ‘Risk and Opportunities’ seminar given by Robert Sinche and Lawrence Goodman of Bank of America, Sinche and Goodman predict that the biggest currency mover will be the Swedish Kroner in 2006, in a year when changes in Japanese monetary policy will also have a significant impact.
Financial services firms of the future will be characterised by a pervasive customer-centric culture
What does the future hold for the financial services industry over the next three years? In a wide-ranging article, Marie O’Connor of PWC examines the the forces driving change in the industry, such as demographics and disintermediation,and highlights some of the impacts on, and responses by, industry players. She says that the successful financial institution of the future will be characterised by a pervasive customer-centric culture and three broad hallmarks: a focus on its areas of competitive advantage; adaptation to forces of fragmentation; and the flexibility to exploit new opportunities. The pace of borrowing in many developed markets will slow as worries over debt levels continue to rise.
Regulation is driving growth at Mazars
Regulation is opening up opportunities for Mazars, which is the seventh largest accountancy firm in Ireland with fee income of €16 million, according to the latest FINANCE Accountancy Survey. Joe Carr talks to Fiona Reddan about his ambitions for growth.
Revised Directors’ Compliance Statements are a step in the right direction
The introduction of the Company Law Review Group’s revised Directors’ Compliance Statements is a positive step in taking reasonable measures to foster and encourage a more positive, healthier compliance culture across corporate Ireland, writes David Nolan.
Four global new markets power ahead as the rest are left reeling behind
Grant Thorton’s global new markets guide 2005 reflects the disparity there is in the world’s markets. ESDAQ, TSX-V, NASDAQ and AIM have provided investors with the highest returns of any global new market for the past three year period, while other markets have experienced a period of levelling off.
Compliance requirements are today’s driving force behind information security systems
Compliance with regulations has taken the lead as the primary driver of information security for both Irish and global companies, for the first time surpassing worms and viruses, according to a survey released by Ernst & Young. This increased requirement for compliance is forcing organisations to spend more than ever on information security, writes Pat Moran.
Working for the deal makers
A chartered accountant by profession, Mark Collins was responsible for setting up KPMG’s Transaction Services division in Ireland in 2000. This division provides deal evaluation, financial and tax due diligence and public reporting (IPO) services in Ireland, and a highlight of such a position is the exposure he gets to many deal types, and to high quality deal makers such as Dermot Desmond and Niall McFadden.
First Active plc completes Ireland’s largest mortgage securitisation raising €1.75 billion
After over a two-year absence from the securitisation market, First Active came back with a €1.75 billion transaction in late November. Donal Corbett, Group Treasury at Ulster Bank, outlines some of the features of the deal.
Increasing compliance requirements are driving compliance officer salaries up by €10,000
Workers in Ireland’s financial services sector can look forward to strong bonus payments, increased job prospects and in many cases increased pay packets in 2006, according to a new salary survey by Joslin Rowe, which also reveals that the impact of the Financial Regulator has ensured that basic salaries for compliance officers and managers have increased by up to €10,000.
Budget 2006
Popular reaction to the budget has been predictable. Spending measures are welcomed and the taxation measures needed to finance them resented. Such an attitude cannot lead to useful critical review of government plans. Some spending is both necessary and good, but some government spending is wasteful. Some tax is necessary to pay for desirable spending but some of the current level of taxation is undesirable and damaging. But any significant change in tax has to commence with a review of spending. Will we ever learn?
Business and the Budget
Apart from business measures dealt with in other articles in this issue, what the Minister did not say in the budget may be more relevant to business than what he did say. SSIAs were not mentioned. Research and development credits, Local Authority efficiency, VAT impact on tourism, professional service retention tax, sub-contractors withholding tax, and CGT rebasing are amongst business topics that did not feature.
Financial transactions and the Budget
Some of the measures proposed by the Minister relating to relief for interest payments seem misguided. The proposals relating to ring-fences on capital allowances need to be fleshed out but are welcome in principle. Many important measures required by the financial service industry in the context of the ending of the IFSC regime are left in limbo. The abolition of capital duty, while welcome, should not distract from these facts.
The ECB’s monetary policy strategy
The European Central Bank recently made its first interest move since 2003 when it raised interest rates by 25 basis points. Here we examine the two pillars of the ECB’s monetary policy strategy - economic analysis and monetary analysis.
A Day in the Life: Jim Power, chief economist at Friend First
Jim Power, chief economist at Friends First, starts his day on Eamon Dunphy’s breakfast show where he presents the Business Review. From there he goes on to give a presentation for Friends First where he says who the true originator of the term ‘Celtic Tiger’ is, and then finishes his day lecturing to a group of MBA students at Smurfit Business School.
Who’s Who in finance: Aldo Aletti
Who's who is Aldo Aletti General Manager & Director, BPM Ireland plc
Additional Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are set to take off following ‘teething’ problems.
‘There has been a renewed impetus to the Irish Public Private Partnership (PPP) market over the last six months, following a number of teething troubles with pilot PPP projects,’ Shane Lyons, a director at Price WaterhouseCoopers and member of the IBEC PPP Council, told attendees at a function held at the British Embassy in conjunction with the International Project Finance Association (of London) on December 7th.
Industry prospers but key players call for a number of changes in Finance Act 2006
Ireland’s securitisation industry continues to go from strength to strength, with the latest statistics revealing that Irish investors bought seven per cent of all European structured products on the market, in the year to October, delegates at the 4th Annual Finance Dublin International Securitisation Conference were told. Also on the agenda at the two-day event was the industry’s regulatory ‘wish list’, in which a number of favoured changes were outlined for the upcoming Finance Act, as well new opportunities for the industry, which included leveraging on Dublin’s capabilities as a hedge fund servicing centre. Fiona Reddan reports from the 4th Annual Finance Dublin International Securitisation Conference.
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