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Finance Magazine - February 2006 Issue

Conference Programme
The programme for the 7th Annual Finance Dublin Conference 2006 has been published, and features a wide range of top level international speakers such as Charlie McCreevy, internal markets commissioner, European Commission, Patrick Neary, chief executive, Financial Regulator, Gay Huey Evans, president, Tribeca Global Management and Guido Ravoet, secretary general, European Banking Federation.
Regulator tries again with new directors’ regime
The Financial Regulator has launched a second consultation process on the introduction of a ‘Fitness & Probity’ regime for directors of financial services companies. This process is due to be completed by the end of April 2006, before the final regime is implemented in June 2006.
Draft MiFID Directive is published
On February 2nd, the European Commission presented its formal drafts, or ‘Level 2’ measures, to the European Parliament and the European Securities Committee (ESC) for a series of technical measures implementing the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID).
Financiers bullish on prospects for sector post Finance Bill 2006
The proposed provisions to improve the tax incentive scheme for film making in Ireland, announced in the Finance Bill, have been welcomed as a necessary boost to the film production industry, and should allow it to compete for larger ‘blockbuster’ type movies once more.
IAASA gets its powers
The Minister for Trade and Commerce, Michael Ahern, has granted significant powers to the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA), to oversee how recognised accountancy bodies regulate their members.
Industry wins concession in Finance Bill 2006
The life assurance industry has won a concession in this year’s Finance Bill, following the introduction of deemed disposal rules to life assurance policies in last year’s Finance Bill.
Focus on investment
In this issue we examine a number of trends in investment management. On page 5, we report on a very innovative approach Perpetual Investments Australia, (which opened an Irish operation in 2004), is taking with its domestic fund strategy.
Non-nationals play growing role in financial services
The financial and business services sector now has 21,500 non-national workers in it, according to a report from AIB Global Treasury Services, ‘Non-National Workers in the Irish Economy’.
Sweeney moves to BIAM
Mick Sweeney, the current chief executive of Bank of Ireland Global Markets, is to take up a new position of deputy chief executive of the bank’s Asset Management Division (AMS), and chief executive of Bank of Ireland Asset Management (BIAM). He replaces Kevin Dolan who is to become chief executive of the AMS division.
Government to raise €2.5 billion for housing
The Housing Finance Agency plc (HFA), a limited company that falls under the umbrella of the Ministry of the Environment and Local Government, and is wholly owned by the Minister of Finance, is to raise €2.5 billion through a Euro commercial paper (ECP) programme.
Comit rebrands
Comit Ireland, a developer of operational risk software for the global financial services sector, has rebranded as Ci3, after the firm resumed 100 per cent control from minority stakeholder Comit Gruppe/Swisscom.
Life assurance reporting – the more the merrier?
The collapse of the Equitable Life in the UK, and the resulting Penrose Report, have resulted in the introduction of a new accounting stardard for life assurers – FRS 27. The overall impact of FRS 27 for Irish companies at first appears benign, writes Glenn Gillard, with little impact on reported profit. However, the disclosure detail required presents a far more significant challenge, he adds, which requires significant work by preparers of life assurance company financial statements to obtain and analyse information.
‘Adopting the FSAP was the easy part’
The capacity attendance and seniority of attendees at the seminar on MiFID implementation organised by the Irish Bankers Federation and The Institute of Bankers in Ireland, and held in the Institute of Bankers Conference Centre on 23 January, confirmed that MiFID has now come to the forefront for business decision makers and those following regulatory development.
The lights come on for MiFID – implementation process commences
The incoming regime for the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) has become noticeably more defined in recent weeks with the publication of the formal draft implementing measures on February 6th, writes Brian Binchy.
When is a domestic fund not a domestic fund?
Emilio Gonzalez, chief investment officer of Perpetual Investments Australia, was in Dublin recently where he gave a presentation to the Society of Investment Analysts on Perpetual’s innovative approach to expanding the investment opportunity set for their domestic equity managers. Fiona Reddan reports from the seminar.
How to access a multitude of managers through one fund
Multi-manager funds are growing in popularity amongst institutional investors, as they allow easy access to a diverse range of specialist fund managers under a single fund structure. Now retail investors can also access such funds, through the AIB Multi-manager Managed Fund. James Leen outlines the features and benefits of the fund.
Platinum reaches record high as investors look for diversification
In January, platinum, the rarest of all precious metals, rose to a record high of $1085/ounce, as hedge funds and investors bought the metal used in jewellery and catalytic converters for cars to diversify their portfolios and seek high returns. With precious metals now being considered once more as an important asset to have in a properly diversified individual or institutional portfolio, due to their counter cyclical nature, Mark O’Byrne assess the outlook for platinum, and evaluates its performance compared with gold and silver.
Tide has turned for commercial property market
Overall, Ireland’s commercial property market enjoyed a strong 2005, with retail again the top performer, over both the office and industrial markets, for the fifth consecutive year, writes Marian Finnegan. Looking to 2006, retail will continue to be a strong performer as the demand for opportunities will far out strip supply, while demand for industrial accommodation will be strong where covenant and lease terms are attractive and higher yields relative to other sectors are. The office market has had a tough few years, with the vacancy rate at around 17 per cent. However, Finnegan says that there are now some clear signs that the market is showing signs of recovery.
REO has transacted the first CMBS deal in Ireland
The new year got off to a busy start for the teams in Treasury Holdings and Eurohypo, as they prepared for the launch of Ireland’s first-ever commercial property securitisation, announced on Monday, January 16th, 2006. Guy Leech, describes the process and the roadshow.
Five per cent increase in pay levels forecast for international financial services companies
Salaries in Ireland’s international financial services firms are set to continue to increase, according to Mercer’s International Financial Services Remuneration Guide (IFSRG) 2006, with remuneration increases driven by incentives and commissions writes Mary McDermott of Mercer.
Pan-European Pensions- the fourth dimension
The recent transposition of the pan-European pensions directive, offers ‘tremendous opportunities’ both for Europe and for Ireland, with estimates from the European Federation for Retirement Provision suggesting that the Directive could lead to improved returns of some €10 billion. However, there are a number of hurdles to be overcome before a true pan-European pension can be created, writes John Feely, as the Directive does not deal with tax, employment law or social security issues.
Using IP telephony to cut compliance costs
Legislators and regulators around the world have set exacting standards for the sale of financial products and services that can be difficult or costly to apply within traditional call centres. But, as Tom O’Neill explains, IP telephony is creating new opportunities to reduce the costs of achieving compliance.
Copulas as a risk management tool
One of the most interesting new ideas to enter finance in recent years is the copula. Copulas are widely used in financial engineering to value credit-linked products and manage credit risk, and the growth in the collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) market has led to an increase in their use. In this article, Finbarr Murphy and Dr. Bernard Murphy give an introduction to how they are used.
There are a number of areas where the tax code could be simplified so as to make it sensible and user-friendly for individuals and small companies. The cost of cutting away needless complexities would not be large in the context of overall tax revenues.
Follow the cash
It has become common to use a company to carry on business, or to make an investment. The use of a company has tax advantages. But the private shareholder often has not reckoned with the legal difficulties of subsequently attempting to take advantage of the company’s cash and assets. Extracting cash can have high tax costs writes Brian Daly of KPMG.
The offshore dimension
Far away hills are green, and taxpayers structuring businesses or investments will sometimes ask “Would it help if I put it offshore?” Ireland’s tax code seeks to ensure that there are no significant tax advantages in placing wealth offshore.
An introduction to the various types of funds, both UCITS and non-UCITS authorised in Ireland.
Day in the Life: Richard Dunn head of equity strategy with Oppenheim Investment Managers
Richard Dunn, head of equity strategy with Oppenheim Investment Managers, devours daily the latest reports from the financial media, as his role directing the €1.7 billion fund manager’s equity portfolio involves keeping up to date on stock movements all over the world.
Money market funds: most popular instrument for treasurers - survey
Three major cash management themes were identified in this year’s JPMorgan Asset Management’s Global Cash Management Survey - treasurers continue to demand high levels of security, the search for higher yields remains strong, and money market funds are increasingly seen as the most effective method for managing cash.
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