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Finance Magazine - April 2006 Issue

Issuers transact a number of firsts in innovative year
Ireland’s first whole business securitisation, and the increasing popularity of private placements, which are now a more popular funding instrument than corporate bonds, are ‘trends that are expected to continue’ over the coming year, say leading market practitioners, while growth in syndicated loans, which exceeded €13 billion in 2005, is also set to continue into 2006.
Dublin’s new law quarter
Mason Hayes & Curran has become the first Irish law firm to move its headquarters to Dublin’s Grand Canal Quay area, having moved in on April 18th. The area has so far attracted many of the top legal firms in the country, with Dillon Eustace set to shortly move into its new headquarters on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.
National Irish to offer broking services
National Irish Bank’s parent, the Dankse Bank Group, has joined the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) as a member, to provide Dankse Bank Group and National Irish Bank customers with trading opportunities in Irish equities.
IEX doubles in size in its first year
The market capitalisation of the Irish Enterprise Exchange (IEX) market has more than doubled to €1.17 billion, since it was launched one year ago.
The CFO’s management checklist
Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) have been faced with a challenging landscape over the past number of years, due to developments such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US, local governance requirements such as the impending Directors’ Compliance Statements, and the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards. While the breadth and complexity of the CFO’s agenda will not go away, Shane Mohan writes that it may begin to stabilise, thus allowing the CFO to move out of a reactionary mode into a more planned and structured approach, enabling the finance function to add enhanced value to the organisation.
Ireland’s innovative capital markets
This month’s special review of Ireland’s capital markets provides a timely reminder of the depth and complexity of deals being transacted in the Irish market.
Irish banks struggle with Basel
Banks in Ireland, and the EU generally, are struggling with the regulatory traffic jam of Basel, IFRS and in many cases - Sarbanes Oxley.
Irish Stock Exchange is ‘at a crossroads’ says leading corporate financier
The Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) is ‘at a crossroads’, according to Peter Crowley, chief executive of IBI Corporate Finance, and the further concentration of the ISEQ index on a small number of large financial stocks is not a healthy sign for the exchange, he added.
BOI creates London syndications team
Bank of Ireland (BOI) is establishing a London based syndications team, in response to BOI’s growing role in the UK and European leveraged finance markets. Peter Mullen, formerly director of loan syndications with Soci?t? G?n?rale in the UK, has been hired by BOI as UK head of leveraged syndications, and will head up the new team.
The Nominations: Capital Markets ‘Deals of the Year’
Market very active in innovative year
Ireland’s first whole business securitisation, and the first Irish Tier 1 Capital preference shares deal, are just some of the deals being nominated for this year’s ‘Capital Markets Deals of the Year’ survey. The nominations are chosen by a panel of corporate bankers and lawyers to reflect the best and most innovative deals of the past year. We look at why these deals were nominated and the key trends in Ireland’s capital markets over the past year, such as continued growth in private placements, and syndicated loans.
Syndicated loans in the Irish market grew by 50 per cent in 2005
Brendan McGrath looks back over corporate banking transactions of the past year, and highlights the growth of syndicated lending, which grew by 50 per cent in the Irish market to reach €13.3 billion, and private placements, as Irish corporates become more demanding. He also examines the changing relationships banks now have with their corporate clients.
Confidence is high among CEOs
Financial services CEOs are very confident about their business prospects to end-2006, and have a high profit expectation for the coming year. However, they share the frustrations of other business sector CEOs with regards to Ireland’s infrastructure, the cost of labour in Ireland and the tax cost of employment, writes Ann O’Connell.
International Profile: Ebru Nuhoglu coordinator at Is Dublin Financial Services plc
Ebru Nuhoglu has been working as coordinator of Is Dublin Financial Services plc, which is the Irish subsidiary of Turkey’s second largest bank Isbank, since November 2003. She enjoys the general atmosphere of working in Ireland, and finds the overall commitment from both Government and industry to develop Ireland as a centre for chosen niche markets, ‘quite amazing’.
Risk and controls reporting - can you see the risk wood for the compliance trees?
The onslaught of new regulations and corporate governance requirements such as Cadbury, Turnbull, and Higgs, as well as Sarbanes-Oxley and Basel II, are causing companies to suffer from compliance fatigue. The symptoms of this condition include an inability to see beyond complying with the next initiative, and a desire to stick simply to the letter of the law in applying governance recommendations, writes Conor Griffin. To overcome this, companies need to achieve real control of corporate governance, which requires direct and active involvement at the highest level.
Shannon - overcoming the digital divide
With over 1,000 financial services industry jobs, Shannon has established itself as a centre of excellence for a range of financial and international service activities, proving to be the location of choice for institutions such as GE Money, Genworth Financial and Halifax. The area is currently preparing itself for the next generation of companies, by updating and expanding the commercial property facilities in the region.
Correct a system that punishes those who fail to do the impossible
Companies are required to pay the bulk of their corporation tax one month ahead of the year end. Underpayments attract penal rates of interest. This system imposes unnecessary hardship on companies and penalises them for failing to do the impossible. It needs to be changed, writes Brian Daly.
The cap and how it fits
The Finance Act 2006 has introduced a cap on the extent to which it is possible to take advantage of certain tax reliefs in aggregate. It will make tax based financing of projects or activities more difficult in the future.
Factors behind the recent decoupling of euro area stock prices from those in the US
Over the past year, stock prices have posted large gains in the Euro area, while they have stagnated in the United States. The European Central Bank (ECB) have recently put forward some of the reasons why.
A fresh start for VAT?
The EU Commission has published a consultation paper that may ultimately lead to fundamental changes in how VAT will operate for financial services. VAT, when it was originally introduced, was intended to apply on the broadest possible range of business transactions, with a common taxable base across Member States. The reality for VAT as it operates for financial services today is a system characterised by exemptions, hidden VAT cost, uncertainty in the application of the law and variation in treatment across Member States. The Commission's paper is intended to start the process of addressing these problems, and proposes a range of solutions designed to deal with a system of VAT that has clearly not kept pace with the changing business environment.
Careers in Finance and Financial Services: Management Consultancy
A career in financial services consulting can provide so many very different career paths and learning opportunities, that it’s a good idea not to start out in this career with too fixed an idea of what you will be doing, recommends Gillian Comerford, who works with Accenture. Consultants need to be able to listen, be flexible, and be open to exploring every opportunity that comes along, she says, as sometimes the greatest and most unexpected of outcomes can stem from what initially appear to be very mundane opportunities.
Commodities’ role in an investment portfolio
Commodities played a starring role in the recent strong performance of the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF), with the fund’s €170 million allocation to commodities, returning almost 36 per cent, over the course of the year. The NPRF accessed the commodities market through the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI), which has become the premier global commodity benchmark. Paul Callan explains how the GSCI is structured, and the role commodities should play in investors’ portfolios.
2006 is set to be a good year for the IEX
Since its launch in early 2005, the Irish Enterprise Exchange (IEX), which aims to replicate the success of London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM), has attracted 14 companies. George Brady and Gerry Beausang write that the signs for the future for the IEX are broadly encouraging, and a number of companies are currently considering, or are in the process of applying, to the IEX. Here, they give an overview of what companies need to know before applying for a listing.
A Day in the Life: David Dillon, senior partner at Dillon Eustace
David Dillon, senior partner at Dillon Eustace Solicitors, believes in the financial services industry, and his day involves discussing new fund structures with the Financial Regulator, attending a board meeting for an IFSC company, and preparing the firm’s impending move to the city’s new ‘law quarter’ in Grand Canal Quay.
MiFID seminar focuses on implementation of Level 2 measures
The Irish Bankers Federation (IBF) and Oracle held a seminar on the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) on April 6th at the Westbury Hotel, Dubin. The event was attended by over 100 financial services practitioners and confirmed this Directive as a leading concern for the industry.
IAS 39 is a ‘bad standard’
Sir David Tweedie, chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), highlighted the cultural difficulties the body faces when setting International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) at a recent speech when he said, ‘In Ireland everything is permitted unless prohibited. In Germany everything is prohibited unless permitted’.
Insurance reporting
Financial reporting and governance in the insurance and reinsurance industries have never been under such pressure, and a forthcoming conference on financial reporting issues for international insurance & reinsurance companies, aims to address some of the key questions. For full details see insert with this issue or: http://www.insurance-institute.ie/training/seminars.html
Industry can afford no more surprises from Government as speakers focus on maintaining competitiveness
Over 250 delegates heard from a number of leading industry speakers, including the Financial Regulator Patrick Neary, and Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, at the 6th Finance Dublin Conference 2006, which took place on March 28th and 29th in Dublin Castle. Central to many discussions at the event was the disappointment felt by the industry over the Government’s abolition of the remittance basis of taxation, and the fear that another ‘surprise’ might destroy the sector. Other issues discussed at the event included the creep of complacency into the sector, Ireland’s declining competitiveness vis-a-vis other jurisdictions, and the regulatory burden facing companies. On the positive side, numerous opportunities for growth were identified across all sectors.
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