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Finance Magazine - May 2007 Issue

Wealth managers scoop up US property
Irish wealth management firms look to the US as a weakening dollar opens up opportunities.
Lynch propels Oakhill
The arrival of Peter Lynch, former financial director of Eircom, at Oakhill has seen the share price of the printing group rise by over 50 per cent.
Hedge funds - back on the agenda
In a property mad market, hedge funds have failed to take off to date in Ireland. However, Merrion Stockbrokers is looking to buck the trend as it launches a new hedge fund.
McCreevy spells out his opposition to CCCTB
The European Commission's plans to introduce tax harmonisation is 'sinister', 'unworkable' and further evidence of the Commission's policy of 'camouflag(ing) the end purposes of proposals until you have put in place the building blocks to achieve them' Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy told Irish investment professionals on May 11th.
EU Commission inquiry into VC markets highlights lack of mutual recognition
The regulation and taxation difficulties facing venture capital (VC) firms that are trying to increase cross-border trade is a major obstacle to the development of a more competitive sector, according to a report released by the EU Commission.
Comments from the editor
Two new insurance firms to set up
Assurant Solutions and Danica Pensions have both entered the Irish insurance market in the last month. Both companies are well established international firms that will offer increased competition in the sector.
EU Directives: priorities for 2007
Implementing the 3rd Money Laundering Directive as well as the Reinsurance Directive are two of the priorities for the Department of Finance over the coming year, as it is obliged to transpose both Directives by the end of 2007.
27th company for the IEX - 2 more on the way
Boundary Capital, the Irish-based investment group, has become the 27th company to list on the Irish Stock Exchange's IEX, the specialist market for small to mid-sized companies.
Watson Wyatt expands in Ireland
Watson Wyatt has acquired German pensions consultancy Heissmann as part of a global deal, which includes Heissmann's Irish operation, Buck Heissmann.
Anglo's business grows by 57 per cent
Anglo Irish Private Banking grew its profits by a massive 57 per cent over the six months to March 31st, 2007.
UK firms dominate rankings in quarter one
UK based investment banks dominated the Q1 2007 financial adviser rankings for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals transacted in Ireland during the period.
Guggenheim opens for business
Guggenheim Partners, the US diversified financial services firm, has opened its new European collateralised loan obligation (CLO) operation in Dublin this month.
Investigating trans-national corporate crime - impact for financial services directors
The proposed Criminal Justice Mutual Assistance Bill, if passed into law, will make it easier for foreign investigative agencies to question Irish financial services companies and their executives who have associations with possible criminals, writes JOE KELLY. He warns that businesses should take notice of this proposed law and seek to protect themselves and their business interests.
Spotting a gap in the pensions market
Since its establishment in 2005, Pensco, the pensions consultancy firm, has gone from strength to strength. Its three founders - Gavin Caldwell, Samathana McConnell and John McGovern - talk to Fiona Reddan about how the firm has developed to date as well as future plans for expansion.
New regime cuts secondment costs - but more should be done
The process of employing foreign nationals in Ireland was improved via the introduction of the Green Card scheme. However, for financial services firms looking to second seasoned executives to Ireland, it can be expensive. So, recent Government and Revenue reforms changing the taxation conditions for skilled professionals as part pf the intra company transfer scheme under the employment permits regime are welcome writes Mark Carter. But he adds that many in the international business community in Ireland are continuing to call for some form of special assignment relief programme aimed at allowing corporations to control assignment costs.
The new audit committee regime for directors
Good corporate governance is a vital and growing concern in the Irish corporate sector. In light of this, Paula Kelleher and Claire Vaughan examine the role of audit committees and independent non-executive directors in ensuring a high level of corporate governance, which are a valuable tool in minimising certain risks inherent in the corporate process.
Wheat looks set for a breakout period
With global warming threatening its rate of production, and with an increasing demand for the crop as a source of ethanol, wheat looks like it will surge in price, says John Hall. He recommends that speculators position themselves to reap the benefits from the potential surge.
Top jobs for funds professionals
FINANCEJOBS.IE is offering posts for funds professionals at the top and of the market. There are three posts advertised seeking funds specialists with a salary package of up to €300,000 per annum.
Top firms seek audit managers
Auditors are in demand in Dublin, with a number of top financial firms including KPMG, Merrill Lynch, Hypo Public Finance Bank and Russell Brennan Keane, all in search of auditors.
Skills shortage may lead to increased foreign hires
Irish firms will become more and more willing to recruit workers overseas due to a continued shortage of skilled labour, according to the preliminary findings of a major study in the future of human resources (HR) in Europe.
Northern jobs on the increase
The number of job opportunities in Northern Ireland is expanding as Invest Northern Ireland promotes the emerging finance sector north of the border.
Number of applicants is still falling below available jobs
April 2007 saw a significant rise in the number of new jobs available in the financial services sector, but the number of applicants is continuing to fail to keep up with growth.
Foreign tax credit relief - is our progress sufficient?
The 2007 Finance Act made welcome changes to Ireland's foreign tax credit regime in respect of foreign taxes paid by branches and foreign capital gains tax suffered in certain jurisdictions. There remains some scope for improvement however, if we are to maximise Ireland's attractiveness, in particular, as a location for headquarter companies.
VAT - where is a service received?
In the case of Zurich Insurance Company vs HMRC, the UK Court of Appeal has decided that the place-of-supply of services is not determined by where the contract is concluded but by other factors such as where the service is consumed and where the predominant benefit arises. The decision will be of interest to financial services businesses who receive services under global contracts.
REITs - the worldwide choice for property investment
The recent KPMG global guide to Real Estate Investment Trusts ('REITs') gives an overview of the principal tax, legal and regulatory features of the principal REIT regimes around the world. The comparison is interesting for Irish investors and raises the question of whether there is any need for a similar regime here.
The Independent Senator
Juggling two roles as a Senator and business editor of The Sunday Independent makes for an interesting day for Shane Ross, who divides his time between meetings in Leinster House, and finding scoops for the Sunday newspaper.
People on the move
People on the move in finance
Innovative foreign exchange structures for Irish treasurers
Alan O'Neill examines a range of innovative foreign exchange structures now available to Irish corporate treasurers, including the 'soft KI forward, and the 'fader forward', which compares favourably against the more traditional KO forward.
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