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Finance Magazine - November 2006 Issue

SEC chief and commissioner McCreevy to address Finance Dublin Conference in joint session
Paul Atkins, SEC Commissioner with responsiblity for external affairs, is to speak at the forthcoming Eighth Annual Finance Dublin Conference 2007. Atkins will be joined at the two-day event by his European counterpart, Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy who will speak along with Atkins on the topic of the conference, which will be North Atlantic Capital Markets/Financial Services, covering major themes, including reporting, markets regulation, banking regulation and capital, and reinsurance and solvency. These themes including the race to establish a transAtlantic stock exchange, and other central issues determining the opportunities for Ireland's IFSC and international financial services industry will feature at the two day conference in Dublin Castle on March 26th and 27th.
Value of Merrion continues to rise
Last year’s valuation of Merrion Capital by Landsbanki looks likely to be revised upwards based on latest profits at the firm.
Revamped 'fitness & probity' requirements published
The financial services industry has welcomed the Financial Regulator's revised requirements for directors and senior managers working in the sector, which include significant changes from the first draft published in February 2005. However, concerns remain over the efficiency of the new regime.
Depfa issues final ACS for 2006
Depfa ACS Bank, the covered bond subsidiary of Dublin based public sector bank, Depfa, has priced its final Euro denominated Irish Asset Covered Security (ACS) benchmark transaction for 2006. The E2 billion, 10 year issue carries a coupon of 3.875p.c. and was over-subscribed, with a final order book volume of E4.21 billion. The reo-ffer price of 99.244p.c. results in a spread of flat versus mid swaps or 21.7 bps over DBR 4p.c. 07/04 /2016. In the final allocation, 9 p.c. went to the UK and Ireland; 28 p.c. of the issue went to Scandinavia; 21 p.c. to Germany/ Austria/Switzerland; 15 p.c. to France, 7 p.c. to BeNeLux; 12 p.c. into Asia, and finally 8 p.c. to Southern Europe and Middle East.
Later stage investments slow down
Investment in Irish sector is down.
Replicating the IFSC’s success
Since its establishment in 1987, Ireland’s international financial services sector has moved from its original location in Dublin’s docklands to encompass the entire country, from Donegal to Waterford, and from Limerick to Meath. Employing almost 20,000 people, the sector, which was created under the auspices of the ‘International Financial Services Centre’, is a major contributor to the Government’s coffers, with corporation tax contributions of ?755.5 million in 2005. So if such a sector can be created once, what’s to stop it happening again if the right conditions exist – for example infrastructural factors similar to those that existed in the particular set of financial services industries that existed at the time the IFSC was set up?
Credit unions- a changing environment
Credit unions are expanding their range of activities from the fundamental facilitation of savings and loans and into the mainstream financial services sector. Paula Kelleher and David Nolan examine this development and look at some of the consequences of the growth and increasing diversity of credit unions.
New venture for Reilly
Chris Reilly, former chief investment officer in Bank of Ireland Asset Management (BIAM), is to set up a new hedge fund operation on behalf of Bank of Ireland.
Irish law firms make international impact
Irish law firms were amongst the top legal advisers for global debt capital deals in the first three quarters of 2006, indicating the buoyancy of this market in Ireland.
New start for RSM
RSM Robson Rhodes, the Irish and UK chartered accountancy partnership, has been acquired by one of the largest professional services and audit firms in the US, RSM McGladrey, in a deal aimed at positioning RSM McGladrey as the largest global provider of accounting, tax and business consulting services to mid-sized companies. Both firms are part of the RSM International network, the world’s sixth largest professional services, accounting and consulting organisation.
Tide is turning towards regulation
Industry support some level of over-sight for sector.
Pension funds look to international specialists
The level of specialist investment management among Irish pension funds is growing fast, with employment of international investment managers on the increase.
Visits to website double
Page impressions on FINANCE magazine’s on-line portal, www.finance-magazine.com have doubled over the past year, up from 160,000 in 2005, to 320,000 so far this year.
Irish mezzanine market looks set to follow European growth trends
Mezzanine financing continues to grow in popularity due to its relative cheapness and its ability to be tailored to the needs of the client. Antoinette Flynn and Catherine Davis give an overview on the European market, which is ripe for further growth.
IASB period of stability - use it well
The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has in recent months announced that it will not require the implementation of any new or substantially amended standards until periods beginning on or after 1 January 2009. IFRS adopters should avail of the opportunity to consider what is developing best practice, how it should be applied to their financial statements, and to prepare for the deluge of new and amended standards which will need to be dealt with by 2009, argues Brendan Sheridan.
Barclays aims for annual growth of 40 per cent
Since establishing an Irish operation over 25 years ago, Barclays has continued to grow its presence and the range of services it offers. Last year their business bank moved away from its branch status to become a fully licensed bank, and announced ambitious growth targets of 40 per cent per annum. Ahead of the bank’s move to new offices in Park Place, Tom McAleese speaks to Fiona Reddan about the bank’s plans for growth, its expansion into new product areas, and dealing with the increasingly competitive Irish corporate banking market-place.
Buying property in a pension plan - does it still work?
Over the past number of years, a significant number Small Self Administered Pension Schemes (SSAPS) have been established with the intention of buying property. However, changes in this year’s pension may well signal a ‘slow death’ for SSAPS going forward, writes Declan Lawlor.
What FinanceJobs.ie offers job candidates
FinanceJobs.ie introduces the current trends and demands in the jobs market. This month has seen an increase in demand for senior tax professionals and analysts while opportunities for experienced accountants remain high.
A Dublin base does not limit opportunities
The key to being a successful actuary is having a good head for numbers and being able to explain tricky things simply, writes Brian Griffin, senior investment consultant with Mercer, who enjoys the variety of a job as an actuary.
Strong demand for tax professionals
FinanceJobs.ie introduces the current trends and demands in the jobs market. This month has seen an increase in demand for senior tax professionals and analysts while opportunities for experienced accountants remain high.
Achieving the 'gold standard' - Irish professionals rise to CFA challenge
As 45 Irish investment professionals are awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter, Bob Johnson and Joe Kavanagh speak to FINANCE about the benefits for both firms and individuals of the qualification described as the 'new MBA' by the Financial Times, and the 'gold standard' by The Economist.
Developments in hedge funds and global systemic stability: the case for regulation
Ray Kinsella examines the nature and dynamic of the alternative investment markets (AIM), and the kind of regulatory system which the industry believes is appropriate, particularly in respect of hedge funds. He argues in favor of a normative and rigorous principles based regulatory system, for two reasons. Firstly, on the grounds of the latent instability of hedge funds, arising from their enormous leverage as well as developments in hedge fund markets in recent years. The second reason has to do with a more philosophical, but nonetheless important point, which relates to an emerging fracture between increasingly complex markets and their relationship to the real macro-economy.
Thoughts for Wednesday's Budget
The downside of the next budget is that inevitably, it will be influenced by short-term election needs. But there is much the budget can do to improve the tax code and the economy, without conflicting with electoral needs. With our power to use the tax system to develop the economy significantly limited by EU rules, it is very frustrating to see those difficulties added to by poorly thought out domestic decisions, writes Brian Daly.
Credit card VAT puzzle
A number of recent cases in the UK have examined whether part of a customer’s payment being attributed to a ‘credit-card handling charge’ allows that amount to be considered exempt for VAT purposes. In a retail context, VAT exemption can increase a taxpayer’s bottom line.
Christmas shopping lists
The pre-budget submissions to the Minister for Finance make sobering reading in the midst of an apparent economic and tax revenue boom. The business sector warn of the recession current in the manufacturing sector and risks to the domestic and world economy. Some trade union and poverty sector submissions suggest a lack of enthusiasm for private enterprise and wealth creation by private individuals. The professions submissions highlight detailed problems with the tax code.
A Day in the Life: Stefano Vaiani, managing director, UniCredito Italiano Bank (Ireland) p.l.c.
Stefano Vaiani came back to Ireland in 2004, when he assumed the role of managing director of UniCredito Italiano Bank (Ireland) p.l.c. Although living in Dublin, he keeps in close contact with Italy via satellite tv, lunches with fellow Italian colleagues and traditions such as morning espresso and evening aperitif.
Who’s Who
Joe Kavanagh Head of Performance Measurement & Risk Analysis, KBC Asset Management Ltd. John McGrane Head of Business & Commerical Banking, Ulster Bank.
People on the Move
New role created at IBI
Oppenheim teams up with Rabobank
RaboDirect, the online Irish retail banking division of Dutch bank Rabobank, is to offer investors funds managed by Oppenheim Investment Managers.
Evaluating directors’ remuneration policies
A little known EU Commission recommendation addressing directors’ remuneration in public companies, is currently being assessed for implementation in Ireland. While most of the issues raised are broadly in line with existing practices in Ireland, one feature is a recommendation that the report of the remuneration committee should be submitted to the AGM for an ‘advisory’ vote by shareholders, provided 25 per cent of the votes held by shareholders attending the meeting request it. Frank O’Dwyer looks at this report, and at other ways of evaluating remuneration policies and equity based incentive schemes.
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