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Finance Magazine - October 2006 Issue

Growth in audit and tax fuels 17 per cent increase in fee income
Fee income amongst the top Irish accountancy firms has increased by 17.2 per cent, according to this year’s annual FINANCE accountancy survey. Overall, amongst the 20 companies polled, fee income in the sector jumped from €765.9 million last year to stand at €902.9 million this year, with mid-tier firms posting exceptional rates. Continued economic buoyancy, combined with growth in regulatory services, financial services and wealth management is driving the growth, and over 1,700 graduates and professionals will be recruited over the coming year to meet the demand.
Mercer’s new funds business
Mercer Global Investments (MGI), Mercer’s multi-manager business, has formally launched its new European headquarters in Dublin, which has already accumulated assets under management of $500 million. Despite high fees, multi-manager funds continue to grow in popularity in Ireland, as they allow easy access to a diverse range of specialist fund managers under a single fund structure.
EBS links up with Irish Life
EBS Building Society has entered into a tied agency relationship with Irish Life Assurance plc, to act as bancassurance product provider going forward.
UK industry calls for regulation of CFDs
Improved disclosure of the Contracts for Difference (CFDs) market in the UK is being called for by the Association of Investment Trust Companies (AITC), the trade organisation for the investment company industry in the UK.
Gearing up for growth
This year’s Finance accountancy survey finds the industry in extremely good health, with annual growth rates of over 17 per cent amongst the top twenty-one firms in Ireland.
Private companies to remain the key driver of Irish corporate activity
The current business environment provides a strong platform for a continued increase in corporate activity amongst Irish companies, writes Ted Webb, and with a relatively benign interest rate, high-growth environment and significant market confidence, he expects recent high levels of M&A activity to continue. Moreover, he believes that privately-owned companies will continue to be key drivers of this activity.
McCreevy addresses treasurers
‘We have a lot in common in terms of what we do,’ Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy told attendees at the Irish Association of Corporate Treasurers’ (IACT) annual dinner on September 29th, adding, ‘I gamble on horses. You gamble on markets. As Europe’s Internal Markets Commissioner I have responsibility for regulating both gambling and markets. But in much of Europe there are no black tie dinners for gamblers!!’
NPRF awards new mandates
The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has announced the winners of its manager tender competition which sought proposals to manage equities on a passive basis and to provide index plus solutions.
Citigroup launches new education programme for its staff
Citigroup Dublin and the Institute of Bankers in Ireland have joined forces to launch the Citigroup Certificate in Applied Financial Services.
MOP and Goodbody lead the pack
Matheson Ormsby Prentice’s (MOP) and Goodbody Corporate Finance’s involvement in the Eircom takeover have ensured their places at the top of the corporate finance league tables for the first nine months of 2006, according to the latest statistics from MergerMarket.
Mid-tier firms shine in another buoyant year of double digit fee income growth
A robust economy continues to fuel growth in Ireland’s accountancy sector, with the top firms benefiting from an average annual growth rate of almost 18 per cent,according to this year’s FINANCE Accountancy Survey. Mid-tier firms are the strongest performers, with Farrell Grant Sparks benefiting from its recent acquisitions, and Grant Thornton recording a remarkable 42.9 per cent annual growth rate. As in last year’s survey, Deloitte is once more the most ‘efficient’ top accountancy firm, returning the most income per employee.
Industry chiefs are split on issue of joint audits and say staffing is still the biggest problem
The managing partners of Ireland’s leading accountancy firms are split as to whether the introduction of a joint audit regime in Ireland would be beneficial for the industry, with all the heads of the Big 4 against the concept. As in last year’s survey, staff shortages remain the ‘achilles heel’ of the industry, with firms increasingly looking outside Ireland to address the issue. On the positive side, Ireland’s continuing prominence as a global financial services centre is increasing opportunities for the sector, as is growth in wealth management services and general economic buoyancy.
Protecting your business, releasing your wealth - how to plan for retirement if you own a business
In addition to the provision of extensive investment services, Irish stockbroking firms also work with HNWIs on pension planning and retirement. Speaking to business owners, Alan Foy discusses looking beyond one’s business and what business owners can do for the future of the investment in their businesses and when the times comes how to distribute that wealth amongst other wealth management products.
US Federal Reserve announcements and the implications for the Irish stock market
Don Bredin and Gerard O’Reilly examine the relationship between the ISEQ returns and volatility and U.S. monetary policy. They identify the sensitivity of the Irish economy in general and the Irish stock market in particular to events in the US.
Current low default rate is not sustainable – IXIS CIB
The current low default rate is not sustainable, an economist with investment bank IXIS Corporate & Investment Bank, told delegates at a recent hedge fund seminar in Dublin. He expects a small rise in these default rates, in the near future, and says that as a result, there will be more opportunities for risk arbitrage and relative value hedge funds. He added that the current environment is not attractive for fixed income arbitrage managers, with little volatility leading to difficult times.
Credit derivatives market continues to grow apace despite concerns
Despite concern that the use of credit derivatives is leading to financial markets instability, the notional amount of outstanding credit derivatives more than doubled in the past year, growing by 109 per cent to $26 trillion. Products increasing in use include loan-only CDS, CDS of Asset-Backed Securities (ABCDS), and CDS on CDOs, and the potential for credit derivatives to find new and better ways for investors to add, reduce or otherwise manage credit exposure appears limitless, writes Chris Case.
Dual listings on smaller markets grow in popularity
With Ireland’s stock market for smaller companies, the Irish Enterprise Exchange (IEX), up and running for over a year now, Ian McDonald takes a look at other smaller markets around the world, and finds that, like companies listing on the IEX who also choose to list on London’s Alternative Investments Market (AIM), dual listings are becoming more widespread as companies seek safer ways to explore a listing on an international market.
Europe as one market - update on transfer pricing
In November 2005, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a pan-European common approach to EU Transfer Pricing Documentation (EUTPD) requirements, which offers a significant boost for multi-national companies seeking to minimise the complexity and costs associated with transfer pricing in Europe while mitigating associated risks. The development will also assist Irish indigenous companies, writes Joan O’Connor in the pricing of cross-border intra-group transactions.
Accountancy firms to recruit 1,771 staff over coming year - Finance survey
The top accountancy firms intend recruiting an additional 1,771 staff members over the coming year, to bring the total employed by the firms up to almost 9,000, according to this year’s annual FINANCE Accountancy Survey. Against a background of continuing skills shortages, accountants are benefiting from enhanced benefits packages, as well as rising salaries, with some employees expected to receive bonuses of 30 per cent of salary.
Learning how to make staff stay
Retention strategies were top of the agenda at the Dublin Funds Industry Association Human Resources and Training Conference 2006, with latest statistics revealing that staff turnover in the industry is at 24 per cent. Fiona Reddan reports from the event.
Top jobs - current open positions in financial services
Opportunities abound for senior funds professionals with firms such as new start-up, Maples Finance, currently recruiting for senior positions. For more information on any of the below jobs, and indeed hundreds of other jobs, log-on to www.financejobs.ie.
In it for the long haul
Early advice given to Jonny Quigley back in 1991, to ‘find a good firm to work for, put your head down, work hard, be patient, and if you are talented enough you will get noticed and opportunities will come along’ has seen him rise through the ranks to his present role as senior vice president, sales & business development at Northern Trust, Dublin.
A Day in the Life: head of inward investment, Ulster Bank Group
David Pierce is the head of inward investment at Ulster Bank Group, and works closely with Royal Bank of Scotland offices globally, organising the requirements of its multinational clients located in Ireland. He is a member of the Institute of Bankers, FFCA and is the incoming president of the Chambers Ireland.
Who’s Who in finance
Declan Fitzgerald, Head of capital markets, Ulster Bank, Kieran Marshall, Head of corporate banking, National Irish Bank.
People on the move
New CFO at BT
BOI restructures
Following the departure of Kevin Dolan, the former chief executive of asset management at Bank of Ireland, the bank has restructured to create a new capital markets division.
Davy opens Galway office
Davy Stockbrokers has opened a Galway office to support its clients in the region
Cadbury Schweppes case
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) have given their decision on the legality of the UK’s Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules. Will the UK replace explicit tax charges with administrative harassment of firms setting up in Ireland? What are the implications for firms who set up in Ireland on the basis of outsourcing and agency arrangements? All is not yet clear.
Introduction of transfer-pricing for VAT
Amendments to the Sixth VAT Directive may lead to increased costs for financial services companies that receive VAT taxable services from connected parties in Ireland or abroad. Businesses should review transfer pricing arrangements on transactions with related entities that are not in the same VAT group.
Stamp duty problems
Recent discussion of possible changes to stamp duty seems to have been focussed more on election year issues than on the real problems that stamp duty gives rise to. The focus on residential property diverts attention from the problems which stamp duty can cause to the business community.
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