ECONOMIC OUTLOOK Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev LEGAL BRIEFS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES IN THE WORKPLACE Caroline McEnery
BUSINESS BRIEFS HOW BREXIT AFFECTS YOUR POCKET MEET THE TEAM
TABLE OF CONTENTS Economic Outlook - Brexit - Dr Constantin Gurdgiev
Policies and Procedures in the Workplace - Caroline McEnery
How To Fake Confidence That Will Even Fool Yourself
Travelwise App Offers Unusual Travel Information
How Brexit Affects Your Pocket
Microsoft Finally Relents, Buys LinkedIn
Meet The Team
Range of Services
WELCOME Welcome to the August 2016 edition of our bi-monthly newsletter.
We hope you are enjoying the summer. Over the last few months, the Brexit referendum in the UK has dominated the headlines. There will be further interesting times ahead as we wait to see what the impact of Brexit will be both globally and for us here in Ireland. We hope you find the articles in this newsletter to be of interest to you. If there is any topic you would like to see included, please let us know. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries you may have and one of our team will be happy to assist you.
Denis Lane & Gary Buchan.
Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev While the UK’s Brexit referendum has dominated international headlines in recent months, another key event was driving the markets - risk aversion. Structural weaknesses in the ranks of the globally systemically important banking institutions, correlated both temporally and causally with the Brexit vote, have come back to haunt Europe with some vengeance. And in the months ahead, understanding and disentangling these shocks will be the key to identifying changes in investors’ sentiment and the direction of the financial markets. Over this and the next newsletter articles, I will look at the key lessons for investors arising from both the Brexit vote outcome and the European banking sector woes.
PART 1 BREXIT LESSONS ARE MUCH MORE THAN STEREOTYPES In the immediate aftermath of the UK Referendum vote, the majority of market analysts, academic commentators and media pundits have issued a battle cry to reverse the ‘Leave’ vote. The rhetoric on which this momentum was built involved three key arguments. One: the ‘Leave’ vote reflects deeply xenophobic and anti-immigrant extreme-Right attitudes in Britain that must be brought under Liberal control. Two: the Referendum result split the UK demographically across two key generations. Three: the Referendum vote was based on deception and voter manipulation by the ‘Leave’ campaign. All three arguments have some validity; but all three offer a highly stylised misrepresentation of reality. Take, for example, the reports of waves of anti-immigrant sentiment and intolerance and the alleged preferences amongst the ‘Leave’ voters for ethnic homogeneity and monoculturalism. On the one hand, we cannot ignore the fact that some on the ‘Leave’ campaign side have advocated severely restrictive immigration policies. And the majority of pre-Referendum polls, especially closer to the voting date, showed that immigration was the number one concern for UK voters. However, this evidence does not suggests that the UK has somehow become an antiEuropean anti-liberal society filled with xenophobic sentiments. The latest data from PewResearch, covering 1Q 2016, showed that in the UK a greater proportion of residents recognised the positive contribution to the country from the multi-ethnic composition of its society than in any other European state, save Sweden. More significantly, the same result holds for the Right-of-Centre voters polled across a number of European countries. Which means that the myth of ‘Little Britain’ running the vote in the Referendum into xenophobia and loathing of foreigners is just that - a myth. Something else must have been at work here. Something that correlates with xenophobia, but is not caused by it. Ditto for the second myth. Once again, post-Referendum rhetoric puts blame for the ‘Leave’ vote on older generations (who voted by a decisively stronger margin in favour of Leaving the EU) betraying the
younger generations (who strongly supported ‘Remain’ vote). Problem is, the younger generation is much smaller than the older generation, and the younger generation voters had a somewhat lower turnout rate than their older counterparts. Alas, even if all young voters were to have showed at the polls, and even if they did vote in favour of the ‘Remain’ with the same propensity as those who did bother to show up, the outcome of the referendum would still be the same as it is today. The ‘Leave’ margin would have been lower, but young ‘Remainers’ would not have been able to swing the vote outcome. Reason? Between 1973 and 1998, UK population growth rates collapsed to below 0.3% annually. In 1960-1979, average percentage of 0-14 year olds in the UK population was around 23 percent. In 1980-1999, the average was closer to 19 percent. Since 2005, the average has fallen to below 18 percent. Take out foreign students and temporary workers, and the collapse of the younger population in the UK becomes even more pronounced. The lesson here is that in a democracy experiencing demographic pressures of ageing, electoral and referenda outcomes will inevitably drift toward preferences of the older voters. Anyone suggesting that such a drift should be undone or corrected somehow because the perceived results favour larger demos over smaller one should brush up on the ways in which democracy is supposed to work. But anyone ignoring this drift is up for some ugly risks and shocks in the coming years not only in the UK, but across much of the Western World. The third proposition - that of voter ignorance - is a convenient deus ex machina for all elections and referenda in all countries whenever such polls produce results unwanted by the intellectual or political elites. Remember the Swiss referendum on foreign residency that passed in February 2014? Why, in the wake of the referendum, Swiss voters were accused also of being ignorant. Ditto for all referenda that went on in the past to reject various EU treaties. Think of this year’s Dutch referendum results in which the electorate have rejected ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement by 61 percent to 38 percent, with turnout just above the 30 percent threshold required to deem the ballot valid. That also was blamed on voters’ poor understanding of the ‘good agreement’ passed onto them from Brussels. In short, European democracy works best only when people vote in line with elites expectations. And the skies fall upon us, when they do not.
THE REALLY UGLY REALITY Which brings us around to the real elephant in the room that the Brexit vote shone some light on. The true cause of the ‘Leave’ vote is not the electorate’s disaffection with immigration policies, nor the UK voters’ rediscovery of the ‘Little England’ values of the 1950s and 1960s. The truth is much scarier than that: the UK vote revealed the fact that in the modern corporatists state, the elites no longer hold an entitlement to rule. As documented in the recent report from Sweden’s Timbro Institute, The European political environment is becoming increasingly polarised as the political Centre is yielding more and more ground to extreme populism on the Left (especially in the Southern Europe) and the Right (more prevalent trend in the Northern Europe). The reason for this dynamic is rather striking. Ideology has become secondary to the general sense of public mistrust of traditional (re: status quo) political leaders. Brexit, other anti-EU votes dating as far back as a decade ago, the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S. and of populism across the majority of European states - these are the direct public responses to the simple fact: since the early 1990s, the global economy and Western societies have been transformed into corporatist, interest groups-led quasidemocracies, where political processes are divorced from policy formation by the layers of quangos, technocratic bureaucracies aided and abetted by media and intellectuals. The Global Financial Crisis and the Great Recession, as well as all other crises that took place since 2008 around the world have magnified the public sense of disconnection between themselves and the political and economic elites on the other side. The emergence of alternative media channels amplified the extent of this discontent and focused public attention and anger on the existent institutions, firstly multinational ones, later domestic. As measured by the Edelman Trust Barometer, year after year, crisis after crisis, public perceptions of key institutions of the states, public and private sector and traditional media declined, leaving behind the void into which opportunistic populism was ready to move in. The European response to this crisis has been exactly the opposite to what should have been done. Instead of closing the gap between European policies and institutions and the voters by better aligning reforms to the specifics of individual countries’ needs and environments and devolving power to member states, the EU decided to double down on the already failing bet. We witnessed the creation of more ‘unions’, announcements of more Europe, deployment of more propaganda and scaremongering. These coincided with fiscal and monetary policies that invariably benefited the connected, crony businesses and sectors with political power and did precious little for the ordinary folks. Along this process of political ossification, pay and incomes stagnated in the ‘recovery’ across the majority of the Western advanced economies and declined in others. Working environments, career prospects, jobs security, pension certainty and access to basic services diminished. Income inequality got worse for many, and wealth inequality got worse for all as the result of financial and economic crises. Proliferation of alternative media brought these facts even more acutely to the forefront of the public attention. Worse, this time around, the middle classes bore the brunt of these shocks, further fuelling the polarisation processes.
Consider the case of the U.S. - an economy in robust recovery for some time, that has regained or bettered pre-crisis levels of economic activity, employment, unemployment, household wealth, etc well before Europe. By all metrics that go into computation of national income and growth, the U.S. should be having a cloudless skies moment. And yet, per recent Marketplace-Edison Research poll ht t p : / / w w w. b u s i n e s s w i re. co m / n e w s / h o m e / 2 0 1 6 0 6 2 8 0 0 6 5 3 4 / e n / M a r ke t p l a ce Edison-Research-Poll-Shows-Increase -Americans%E2%80%99-Economic “Americans’ personal economic anxiety has increased since the Fall of 2015, when polling began.” “There’s a broad perception of inequality, a feeling that a small group of people is getting wealthier at the expense of a large group of people who are suffering. I think that there is an effect that starts to take hold and wear people down, and I think we’re seeing some of that in our poll,” said Larry Rosin, President of Edison Research. “I think the Brexit vote that we saw reflects a similar kind of aspect over in the UK.” Hard numbers? 71 percent of Americans today think that the economic system is “rigged” in favor of certain groups. And the sentiment prevails across all demographic groups, and political affiliations: Democrats, Republicans, Independents, as well as across all income levels. As per McKinsey study published in July, between 2005 and 2014, http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/poorer-than-theirparents-a-new-perspective-on-income-inequality?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mgi-oth-1607 ‘‘real incomes in those same advanced economies were flat or fell for 65 to 70 percent of households, or more than 540 million people” across 25 major advanced economies.
THE EXTENT OF FLAT OF FALLING MARKET INCOMES HAS VARIED SIGNIFICANTLY ACROSS COUNTRIES. % of households in segments with flat or falling incomes, 2005-141
from wages and capital
after taxes and transfers
Italy United States
100 <2 60 70 10 <2
Data for each country are the latest avaliable: Sweden, 2013; Netherlands, 2014; United Kingdom, 2013/14; France, 2012; United States, 2013; Italy, 2014 disposable incomes, 2012 market incomes.
Population-weighted average of 25 advanced economies.
Source: Bank of Italy; Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS); Institut national de la statistique et des etudes economiques (INSEE); Statistics Sweden; UK Office for National Statistics; US Congressional Budget Office; McKinsey Global Institute analysis
CANARIES, MINES AND INVESTORS
FIRST, POLICY AND POLITICAL ONES
Things are looking worse when we consider the future. Again, quoting McKinsey research: “If the low economic growth of the past decade continues, the proportion of households in income segments with flat or falling incomes could rise as high as 70 to 80 percent over the next decade. Even if economic growth accelerates, the issue will not go away: the proportion of households affected would decrease, to between about 10 and 20 percent—but that share could double if the growth is accompanied by a rapid uptake of workplace automation.”
There is a need for public, transparent and inclusive period of reflection, analysis and debates; this should be followed by the extensive reforms of the economic and social policies, political systems and financial markets to address the existent gap between voters and leadership. There is a need to cleanse thoroughly the Augean Stables of political establishment. And before all of this, there is a need to counter rising populism by putting forward people who warned about either or both crises into positions of publicly visible proximity to policymaking. The last step should be the first, because it is the easiest to deliver upon.
Yes, the canary in the mine is now lifeless; the cage is swinging in the gusts of a deadly gas filling the tunnel. All you need is a spark to light the place up. The current state of democracy in Europe is that spark. The political environment in Europe is fast approaching the point of no return, best described by V.I. Lenin’s definition of a revolutionary situation, a scenario in which the ruling elites are no longer able to impose their policies on the electorate that is no longer willing to be ruled by the elites. We are not there yet, owing to the generally law-abiding nature of European voters and the fact that modern corporatism is rather more open to integrating broader interest groups than its 1900s-1930s predecessors, but the Brexit vote and other recent events suggest that the inflection moment may be not that far away. Given the levels of risks and the nature of disruption such an inflection can cause, it is quite surprising that the traditional media, official analysts (both financial and political), academics and politicians are not engaging in some serious soul searching. Instead, they revert to type, blaming ignorance and small-mindedness of voters for what is clearly an existential crisis of the modern representative democracy. The Black Swan event of a Systemic Political Crisis to come is, like the Black Swan event of the Global Financial Crisis that preceded it, requires the same set of pro-active responses.
Yet, no such step has been taken. Neither in the public sector, nor in the systemically important larger private enterprises, nor in politics and not even in the mainstream media. This is true not only for the U.S. and the EU, but also for the smaller states that were the focal point of the previous crises, like Ireland. Not much is different across the Pond. In the UK, based on recent analysis published by the Guardian, almost a quarter of all MPs come from Oxbridge, as do six out of ten private secretaries, half of all diplomats and newspaper columnists and more than 4 out of ten of all public bodies executives. Amongst BBC executives ranks, Oxbridge graduates account for one third. In the U.S., Yale and Harvard - more specifically, individual departments and schools in these two Universities - hold keys to dynastic political orders. In short, Brexit in the UK, Austrian Presidential elections and the Dutch Refrendum of 2016, as Finnish elections of 2015, and numerous previous public polls are heralding the real problem in European politics and leadership - a problem of status quo of power elites now completely and totally detached from the electorates and the masses of their subjects. This, not the alleged xenophobia of the voters, or ignorance of the people, or simple anger residual left from the economic crises of the past, is the real cause for concern. And from the investor perspective, hedging systemic Black Swan crises is notoriously hard. It is made even harder by the current markets systemic mispricing of risks relating to Government bonds and countercyclical equities (traditional defensive hedges against recessions). Currencies offer little promise of safe havens, as waves of competitive devaluations continue to run across the globe and as volatility (induced by the newsflows and investors’ sentiment) adds to the monetary policy risk dimension. There are only two asset classes that historically offer some degree of protection against the catastrophically disruptive risks, like geopolitical risk and the risk of rising cost of income and wealth inequality: precious metals, most notably gold, and real equity (business ownership and equity in privately held companies, and selectively chosen agricultural and development land). These assets, however, pose their own risks and should not be acquired on the basis of taking one-off, big-buy positions.
Dr Constantin Gurdgiev is the Adjunct Assistant Professor of Finance with Trinity College, Dublin and serves as a co-founder and a Director of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation Ltd and the Chairman of Ireland Russia Business Association. He holds a non-executive appointment on the Investment Committee of Heniz Global Asset Management, LLC (US). In the past, Dr Constantin Gurdgiev served as the Head of Research with St Columbanus AG (Switzerland), the Head of Macroeconomics with the Institute for Business Value, IBM, Director of Research with NCB Stockbrokers Ltd and Group Editor and Director of Business and Finance Publications. He also held a non-executive appointment on the Investment Committee of GoldCore Ltd (Ireland) and Sierra Nevada College (US). Born in Moscow, Russian, Dr. Gurdgiev was educated in the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Chicago, John Hopkins University and Trinity College, Dublin.
TWEETS COULD QUALIFY AS LOBBYING UNDER REGULATION OF LOBBYING ACT 2015 Tweets directed at politicians and public officials could qualify as lobbying under the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015, the Standards in Public Office Commission has said. The legislation came into force late last year and requires those who lobby designated public officials to register and report on their lobbying activities. The lobbying rules apply to employers with more than 10 employees, representative and advocacy bodies, and any communications about land zoning or development.
DOUBLE FINE OPTION FOR MOTORISTS MATERIALISES IN NEW PROPOSED LEGISLATION Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has published the general scheme of legislation to close a loophole that allows for fines and penalty points under the Road Traffic Act to be avoided. The proposed new Summons Printing and Fixed Charge Notice Bill is a collaboration between Ms Fitzgerald, Transport Minister Shane Ross and their respective Departments. Previous reports suggested the Government was considering offering motorists the option of paying a double fine as an alternative to appearing in court if they miss the deadline on a fixed charge notice.
LEGAL AID SCHEME FOR MORTGAGE ARREARS WELCOMED Legal rights group FLAC has welcomed the new legal support scheme announced by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald for those in mortgage debt. The scheme, first announced in January 2016, will be run through the Money Advice & Budgeting Service with the Legal Aid Board supplying an external panel of solicitors.
The first-ever annual report on the Act states: “The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 makes no distinction as to the method, venue or formality of a relevant communication. If a person within the scope of the legislation communicates with a designated public official about a relevant matter, it counts as lobbying and must be registered. Under the Act, informal encounters that take place in a social setting, a business premises or on the street may be seen as lobbying. Text or emails may also count as lobbying as will the use of social media in certain instances. In relation to Twitter, generally a tweet directed at the wider audience and not targeted specially at someone would not be considered lobbying. However, if a designated public individual is specifically sent a tweet or tagged in a tweet it may be seen as lobbying depending on whether the person sending it falls within the scope of the Act and whether the subject of the tweet concerns relevant matters.
At present, under the Road Traffic Act 2002, a person who does not pay within 56 days is served with a summons. At that point the person has no further payment option and must attend court. However, persons regularly appear in court and state they did not receive the original notice, and many such cases are dismissed, meaning neither the fines nor the penalty points are applied. The Courts Service of Ireland estimates around 7,500 cases are dismissed on these grounds every year. The new legislation aims to address that loophole by creating a further payment option – double the original fixed amount – while upholding any penalty points concerned without taking up further court time. Ms Fitzgerald said the aim of the legislation is to restore fairness to the system so that those who commit road traffic offenses and try to avoid the penalties and fines received, are held to account.
FLAC has long campaigned for the state to provide legal assistance for those in mortgage arrears and said this scheme goes some way towards addressing the gap in legal supports. However, FLAC said it is not yet clear whether those who are not yet at the repossession stage will qualify for legal assistance from the state, even where an early intervention may increase that person’s chances of maintaining the family home and they cannot by themselves make a legal defence. FLAC also said the Legal Aid Board must receive adequate additional funding to ensure that it can meet increased demands rather than eat into its existing service budget.
THE IMPORTANCE OF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES IN THE WORKPLACE:
THE DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE
Caroline McEnery - Manager, The HR Suite Ensuring that you, as an employer or manager, are compliant in terms of employment law and particularly in that area of disciplinary and grievance procedures is absolutely essential. It is very important to ensure that you not only have the necessary procedure in place but that it has been issued to and signed off by all employees in order to guarantee that you are in a position to correctly manage disciplinary issues in the workplace.
THE RULES OF NATURAL JUSTICE The procedure you implement should follow the rules of natural justice – follow the procedures! Employers who commence disciplinary proceedings against their employees must ensure that they follow the rules of natural justice.
The rules of natural justice require that: • An employee is made fully aware of any formal allegation made against them • They are afforded the opportunity to reply to any formal allegation made against them • They are afforded the right to representation throughout the disciplinary process • They receive the right to a full and objective investigation of the allegation • They receive the right of appeal
In line with current employment legislation all employees should have received and signed off on the company disciplinary and grievance procedure within 28 days of commencement of employment. Disciplinary issues can be very difficult to deal with especially in environments where employees and management work closely on a day to day basis. A disciplinary and grievance procedure will make it easier for the employer to manage the situation, it ensures that the employee is aware of the process and knows what to expect when involved in a disciplinary investigation. Having a formal procedure in place, which is issued to all staff members will remove any ambiguity or accusations of unfair treatment as, when correctly applied a disciplinary and grievance procedure allows for all employees to receive the same treatment if a disciplinary issue arises.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), now replaced by the Workplace Relations Commission, frequently examines the importance of adopting fair procedures and the principles of natural justice prior to taking any action against an employee. Recently, the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) awarded a Dunnes Stores checkout operator €26,000 for being unfairly dismissed after claiming unused value club card points by customers on her own card. The EAT criticised Dunnes Stores for disregarding the rules of natural justice in the manner as they did not provide her with an appeal hearing despite her request for one. This case highlights the importance of adhering to and following the rules of natural justice. Although implementing the disciplinary procedure can seem to be tedious and time consuming, it is clear that failure to follow the process is a costly decision that is easily avoidable. Indeed the majority of cases at third parties are lost due to a failure to follow procedures.
Another example of the cost of failing to use correct procedures can be seen in the case of a footwear company based in Co Kildare who has summarily dismissed an employee who had set up a similar business in competition with his employer. The EAT confirmed that the employee had set up his own business which had a website advertising the services he provided. The Tribunal confirmed that it was satisfied that the employee’s behaviour provided grounds for his dismissal. However, the Tribunal was equally satisfied that the company did not use any fair procedures in the manner with which the employee was dismissed. The Tribunal confirmed that because of the summary nature of his dismissal, the employee was, in effect, unfairly dismissed by the company and the employee was awarded €3,000 in compensation.
In another recent case The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a worker who was involved in an incident where a banger exploded at work injuring a number of colleagues has been unfairly dismissed. The employee in question was awarded €1,500 for the unfair dismissal and a further €2,663 in lieu of four weeks minimum notice. The EAT stated that the employee admitted responsibility from the outset but claimed that there had been nothing wilful in his actions. The employee had not appreciated the potential serious consequences of his actions which he appeared to categorise as “tom foolery” which was, he alleged, an established culture in the workplace. SIPTU represented the employee at the hearing. The Tribunal found that the investigative and disciplinary processes in the case “were fundamentally flawed to the extent that the Tribunal considers and holds the claimant to have been unfairly dismissed”. The Tribunal states that it cannot disregard these fundamental flaws particularly in a situation where the firm had the advice of an external consultant in employment procedures available to it. The Tribunal stated that it believed that the exclusion of the employee’s union representative and the denial to him of his representative of choice during the process was unfair and a fundamental breach of his contractual entitlements.
For advice on Disciplinary Procedures and other HR related issues please contact any of her team at the HR Suite on 066 7102887 to discuss your requirements. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline McEnery Manager, The HR Suite
The HR Suite is managed by Caroline McEnery who has over 20 years’ experience in providing HR Services to business throughout Ireland. Caroline is a member on the Low Pay Commission and is also an adjudicator in the new Work Place Relations Commission. She has also completed a Masters in Human Resources in the University of Limerick, she is CIPD accredited as well as being a trained mediator.
HOW TO FAKE CONFIDENCE THAT WILL FOOL EVEN YOURSELF Sometimes, we all feel a little vulnerable. Perhaps it is in the workplace, when there’s a big promotion on the horizon, or perhaps you have to lead a high-profile initiative and you just don’t feel that you have what it takes... You’ve heard the adage ‘‘fake it until you make it’’ - but does it work? Dubbed ‘‘imposter syndrome’’, it is only natural for someone to feel anxious about taking on a new professional challenge. You may fear that others will discover that you are not as capable of the task as they imagined. Many people feel like frauds sometimes, while many never shed that nagging voice of self-doubt.
FOLLOW THE SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE You can learn a lot from leaders while creating your own personal management style. Find a few role models to emulate, and watch how they communicate and influence others. Expose yourself to many different styles and observe their verbal tactics, the way they use humour and silence. Listen to the way in which they frame questions, and pay attention to how they intervene. Borrow bits from the people you admire, and use that to emulate their success.
‘‘Faking it until you make it’’ is a great way of feigning confidence, rather than pretending that you have skills that you do not have. It is about making yourself believe that you are confident, so that you can do your best in the situation and be in the right frame of mind to make the most of it, rather than wasting time and energy beating yourself up - then you will surely fail. You can’t find solutions when you’re second-guessing yourself. If the root of your insecurity lies in your personal leadership style, you will gain confidence from finding out how to exude credibility, competence and authenticity to other members of your team, and how to make these values shine through in your communications. Here’s how.
FOCUS ON THE OPPORTUNITY Every challenge is a new opportunity for you to shine. When you focus on the fear, you will become more intimidated. Instead, look at it is an opportunity to develop your skillset and experience, rather than a threat. It is easier to face a challenge head-on if you look at it as an opportunity to engage with new people, tasks or experiences. Instead of allowing fear to make you feel completely worthless, consider the fact that it cannot be completely, categorically different from your normal work. It may be somewhat different, but that’s just an opportunity to upgrade your skills.
BOLD BODY LANGUAGE Body language is a great way to make yourself feel more powerful when you are feeling insecure. It can also help you to come across as confident to others. Others will perceive you as confident when you carry yourself in a manner that conveys poise, power and personal pride. Instead of slouching, walk with your shoulders straight, and take long strides. This way, you will feel less guarded, which means you will be more likely to take a stand and remain focused on your goals.
WATCH OUT FOR WARNING SIGNS It may not be such a good idea to fake it if you’re stressed to the point that you have anxiety attacks. While it is a good thing to step out of your comfort zone, you should not set yourself up for a mental breakdown. Serious, ongoing fight-or-flight mode is harmful to your physical and mental wellbeing. If you truly feel that the challenge is too big, or that the time frame or resources are inadequate, you should speak up.
Summary • DO create small, incremental performance-based goals.
ONE INCREMENT AT A TIME Whenever you take on something new, avoid creating unrealistic expectations, such as setting out with the goal of killing it right from the start. Excessively high expectations will only set you up for failure. Instead, aim for small, incremental changes such as how you will steer a meeting, or how many people you wish to engage with at a networking event. Psychologists agree that goals are moving targets that require constant resetting.
• DO boost your confidence with bold body language. • DO observe your role models in professional situations and seek to copy their success strategies. • DO NOT beat yourself up for feeling nervous about a new professional challenge. • DO NOT be overly daunted or afraid of challenges you are facing. • DO NOT take something when you have legitimate concerns about its feasibility.
TRAVELWISE APP OFFERS UNUSUAL TRAVEL INFORMATION A new app from the Department of Foreign Affairs offers some unusual information to its users, including warning unmarried users visiting the UAE to abstain from sex. The app has information on every country around the world, accompanied by sage advice, such as not insulting the Thai royal family, and not answering a policeman back in Australia Each country is graded on a scale from green (safe) to red, which means one should not visit, and one can read up on the law and customs of the country you wish to visit. With the United Arab Emirates being a popular destination for Irish tourists and emigrants, the app offers much advice on the region. There’s much emphasis on sex outside of marriage, which is illegal in the UAE, as well as cohabitation, homosexual behaviour and adultery. It states: “If you conduct a sexual relationship outside heterosexual marriage you run the risk of prosecution, imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation.” Any public displays of affection are also illegal, and the police takes their task of enforcement seriously. In addition, it warns about the risks of falling pregnant out of wedlock and the fact that both the woman and her partner may face deportation or imprisonment. Unwed mothers may face problems when registering the birth of their babies, and arrest, imprisonment and deportation are real risks.
Our young people in Australia seem to have developed a reputation for bad behaviour, judging by Australian journalist, Josh Massoud’s recent post following a storm in Coogee, Sydney. He wrote: “Coogee demolished over the weekend and for a pleasant change the Irish aren’t to blame.” The TravelWise app seems to share the same sentiment regarding the Irish, as it states: “What might pass in Ireland for friendly banter may be interpreted in Australia as a refusal to follow the orders of a police officer.” Furthermore “Disrespectful language or physical contact, especially from people under the influence of alcohol, is not tolerated.”
It also warns that New Zealand is not as tolerant towards public drunkenness as one might imagine. It goes on to give an example of several Irish visitors having spent the night in jail after being arrested while under the influence. It would appear that the police in New Zealand will not tolerate any physical contact or disrespectful language from inebriated individuals. Italy also frowns on public drunkenness, stating that public intoxication is a cultural taboo, and so is anti-social behaviour caused by excessive alcohol consumption. When in Thailand, one would do well to avoid making any critical remarks about the Thai King or his family, as it is a criminal offence. The lèse majesté laws are strict and it is common for foreigners and Thais alike to fall foul, and end up serving lengthy prison sentences. Singapore is another country with a long not-to-do list, including: • do not display the national flag; • do not chew gum on the Mass Rapid Transit System; and • do not proselytise as a Jehovah’s Witness. Stay clear of the law when you travel with the TravelWise app, available for Android and IOS.
HOW BREXIT AFFECTS YOUR POCKET After the initial pandemonium, things are a little more quiet on the Brexit front, but don’t forget about it just yet. It will take time for the dust to fully settle - if it ever will. However, with time comes a clearer perspective and we believe in always looking at the glass half full. So let’s put aside the economic and political drama as well as the big picture and focus on what’s important to us as Irish consumers. 1. VALUE OF A £
4. IMMIGRATION ISSUES
The value of our money has dropped from £1.45 in 2015 to £1.17 just after Brexit result. As a result, online UK-based retail outlets that sell in sterling have had some difficulty in coping with the demand as Brexit spurred on euro zone bargain hunters to take advantage of great prices.
Irish and British people have been able to travel to and from their respective islands without the need for travel documents. However, one of the main reasons why UK voters have opted to leave the European Union, was due to fears over immigration. The Irish people were the furthest from their minds when they entered the ballot boxes, but in order to curb immigration, border controls will have to be set up and that will bring free movement to a shuddering halt. This will probably hit Irish consumers pretty hard.
But it’s not only online stores who benefitted. People living close to the border were quick to take advantage of cross-border shopping. This allure for cheaper shopping in the North will continue to hold for as long as the sterling continues to weaken. In the past, Irish shoppers frequently headed up North as UK retailers offered better value and it seems as though we may go back to our old ways. Cross border shopping dropped from 4.1% to as little as 0.3% during the recession. While cross border shopping is great for consumers, it will affect local retailers as well as the tax take.
5. HEALTH INSURANCE EU rules stated that Irish citizens with European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) may take advantage of the NHS. However, Brexit could change that, especially if we were to be viewed as international travellers. Therefore, if an Irish person were to fall ill in the UK, he or she would be expected to pay for healthcare.
Recently the Department of Finance warned that VAT on the sale of goods is likely to fall in the months ahead. It is expected that later in the year, depending on the strength of the sterling that there will be some connection across to Northern Ireland relating to VAT.
3. CHEAPER IMPORTS If the sterling stays weak, imported goods may become cheaper via our closest neighbour. However, it remains to be seen whether or not savings will be passed on to consumers. If the past is any indicator, there will probably be a proportionally small benefit to consumers. Savings on products imported from the UK will likely be welcomed by most people, however, Irish brands may take the strain on lower-cost imports.
6. RETIREES If you’re approaching retirement, you might be feeling the sting of Brexit more than others. Since Irish pension funds are invested in EU and UK stock markets (which recently took a hammering!) it will affect your investment. While market troughs and peaks are an inevitable part of investment, and while share prices will eventually start to climb once again, a sustained slump is bound to take a sizable chunk out of many people’s pension funds. Hopefully, if you are very close to retirement, your pension pot might be invested in government bonds or cash, which will have been hit less hard.
7. COMPLEX RELOCATIONS
10. INCREASED MOBILE COSTS
It will take some time for all the changes to take effect, but Brexit could make it difficult for Irish people to relocate to the UK. Those who are already there are less likely to be affected (even the most staunch of Tory supporters would not view deporting EU citizens as a great idea!). However, over time it may become increasingly more difficult for our people to settle in the roads leading to London and other cities.
Mobile phone roaming costs were reduced at the end of April when the EU-imposed charging cap took effect ahead of an expected full ban. As a result of this cap, operators may not charge more than two cent for text messages, five cent per minute for voice calls, or five cent for a megabyte of data. However, this rule only applies to EU-based roaming. therefore, when the UK leaves the EU, it will become a lot more expensive to upload images to Instagram while calling and texting during a shopping trip to Newry.
11. AIRLINE ASSISTANCE Airline passengers who are stranded or facing similar predicaments have significant protection under European legislation. Under Regulation 261 of the EU legislation, airlines must provide passengers who have been affected by cancellations with rerouting offers on the next available flight, or at a time that suits the passengers. In this case, the airline must continue to provide assistance and care until the passenger boards the flight. Alternatively, they should offer a full refund. Should the passenger opt for a refund, that ends the airline’s responsibility. The UK might implement similar legislation in time to come, but it is not guaranteed.
8. POTENTIAL INVESTMENT IN IRELAND One silver lining is the fact that Ireland is bound to become increasingly more attractive for financial houses and multinational companies looking to invest large sums of money in our country with its welleducated, English-speaking workforce and our (currently) strong economy. That means that Ireland will remain a powerful trading bloc, with Dublin only one hour away from London.
9. CONSUMER LAW The European Consumer Centre (ECC) in Ireland recently issued an alarming statement reminding consumers that there would be no changes under EU legislation due to the UK decision to leave the European Union. The fact that the centre felt the need to issue a warning was alarming enough, but what is more concerning, is that it received worrying reports from Irish online consumers who were refused refunds by UK-based traders based on the outcome of the Brexit referendum. The report cited an example of an Irish consumer who bought an item from a UK-based online retailer, but decided to take advantage of the no-questions-asked ‘‘cooling-off’’ period. However, the trader refused the refund, stating that due to Brexit, the EU consumer laws would no longer apply. However, the European Consumer Centre stated that consumer rights would remain as before the referendum and that traders should not use Brexit as a reason to refuse legitimate services, deliveries, replacements, repairs or refunds.
12. INFLATED BANK CHARGES Transfers across the Single European Payment Area (SEPA) States are fast and cheap and gives us greater control over our finances. Britain’s exit from the EU could cause them to exit the SEPA area, meaning that banks may start to charge highly inflated fees when transferring funds between European accounts. Brexit is likely to cause us to lose all these benefits.
BUSINESS BRIEFS SURGE IN DOT.IE REGISTRATIONS AS ECONOMY AND SENTIMENT RISE New dot.ie domain registrations rose more than 13 per cent last year, with net registrations up by almost 50 per cent, the IE Domain Registry said. The organisation’s annual report, released in July, said the rise was a mix of improvements to the economy, driving an increase
IRELAND ‘COULD GAIN €27BN’ FROM DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET
More than 200,000 dot.ie web addresses have been registered. The organisation’s annual report revealed an operating loss of just over €517,000 as IEDR upped its investment in promotions, marketing and initiatives to encourage businesses to take up dot.ie domains. IEDR Chief Executive stated that e-commerce functionality is just as important as any other aspect of running a business.
The Google-commissioned report adds that 140,000-190,000 jobs could be created here in the period.
focus on offering ICT businesses an attractive business climate and by providing a motivated and skilled labour force. As a result, Ireland has more to gain from digitalisation compared to its peers, according to Niclas Collandier of BCG. Furthermore, the potential reward to Ireland is great - by increasing the impact of digital technology on the economy, combining the effect of increased trade in an EU Digital Single Market (DSM) with the yet untouched potential of emerging digital technology, Ireland could increase annual GDP growth by almost 50% until 2020. This represents a value in excess of €27bn.
Ireland’s e-GPD as a share of total GDP is the highest of comparable countries at over 12% (excluding multinational corporations). This has been driver by a long term concentrated
The digital single market programme is designed to harmonise regulations across the EU and make buying goods and services online easier.
MINISTER MOVES TO FREE UP FARM FINANCE
with all the financial institutions, particularly the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), to identify potential solutions to working capital finance for farmers experiencing liquidity gaps.
Irish GDP could gain €27bn from the planned EU digital single market if this country preserves its status as one of Europe’s ‘‘digital frontrunners’’, according to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report.
Experts will be sought to examine the difficulties in accessing finance in Ireland as a step towards potentially setting up a loan structure or fund under the Rural Development Programme, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has confirmed. After a recent meeting with the chief executives of the main banks, Mr Creed said he stressed the need for flexibility and was informed they recognise the challenges currently facing farmers. Mr Creed, who has been outspoken about the need for lower cost finance for farmers and small agri-businesses, said his department would be publishing a tender for expert advice shortly. The Minister said in relation to the more flexible State aid provisions announced by the EU Commission, he was working
in use of websites by businesses, and a resurgence in consumer confidence and spending power.
In response to a query from TD Michael Healy Rae, Mr Creed said accessing finance was discussed at the recent Dairy Forum and the meeting of the FoodWise 2025 group, with the SBCI and the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) both active in the market. The IFA’s dairy chairman Sean O’Leary said farmers were facing financial pressures which were being compounded by superlevy bills and upcoming tax bills this autumn. He said urgent action is needed by the Government to provide low-cost short-term loans to ease cash flow pressure and reduce the high cost of merchant credit. Mr Creed said the ex-ante assessment being sought can take from three months to a year to complete.
IRELAND CONTRIBUTES MORE MONEY THAN IT GETS TO EU FOR FIRST TIME Ireland has become a small net contributor to the EU Budget for the first time since it joined the bloc in 1973. The country paid €168m more to the EU than it received in grants and payments in 2014 according to briefing material provided to Finance Minister Michael Noonan by officials in his Department.
IRELAND TO HIT JOBS TARGET SET BY EU FOUR YEARS EARLY Ireland is set to hit its employment growth target for 2020 four years early, according to latest statistics from Eurostat. The European Commission (EC) set the country a target of 69% employment by the end of the decade in its 10-year jobs and growth initiative. The initiative was launched in 2010 at the height of the global financial crisis. Ireland’s current employment rate stands at 68.8pc for people aged between 20 and 64. Germany, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania have already hit their employment targets, and Ireland’s robust growth means it is likely to become the fifth country to meet the EC objective. Figures for 2015 show that there were 1.899,500 people between the ages of 15 and 64 employed in Ireland. The EU has revised its overall employment target down to 72pc, having initially set a continent-wide figure at 75pc. The report noted that an increase in employed people here between the ages of 54 and 65 coincided with an increase in the rate of youth unemployment. While this was a trend seen across the EU, the report cited Ireland, Spain, Italy and The Netherlands as countries where it
IRELAND AIMS TO END HOUSING SHORTAGE BY DOUBLING OUTPUT BY 2019 Ireland will aim to at least double its housing output by 2019, the government said recently, by announcing a raft of measures to tackle a chronic shortage that is raising living costs and homelessness. Ireland was left with a surplus of houses after a 2008 property crash that cut values in half but while some out-of-town housing estates lie empty, property has become scarce in cities like Dublin where the population is growing rapidly. The government will speed up the planning process, assist firsttime buyers and boost social housing to address the failure for the last six years to build half the 25,000 homes analysts say are needed nationwide each year to meet demand. The Housing Minister, Simon Coveney stated that the aim of his Department is to have 25,000 homes by 2019, but that in reality many, many more houses, closer to 35,000 are needed to make up for the deficit that has existed for the last decade. While property prices are recovering and are now a third below
The note states that in 2014, Ireland contributed around €1.69bn to the EU Budget, and received €1.52bn in return. The vast majority of Irish receipts for 2014, approximately €1.22bn, are direct payments to farmers. Data from the Department shows that even during the boom years, Ireland was a significant net beneficiary from EU funds. For example, in 2004, net receipts totalled €1.4bn, while in 2006 they slipped to €672m. Since 1973, Ireland has received over €50bn. The last year for which complete data is available is 2014. Final data for this year will not become available until Summer 2017.
was particularly pronounced. Youth unemployment is more than double the average unemployment rate across the EU, with 20pc of those aged between 15 and 24 counted as jobless, compared with 9pc for the rest of the workforce. The working age population (20-64) across the continent is expected to fall by 4.3 million between now and 2020, and the report states that the addition of more workers over the age of 54 into the workforce could help reduce this number. Combined with the overall decline in the labour market and the rising demand for highly skilled workers it means programmes to train and develop skills are crucial, Eurostat said. Migrants and older people in particular need to be better integrated into the workforce as part of a concerted effort to boost employment. The report says that while both groups will initially tend to have low-skilled jobs, the EU needs to allow for people to up-skill in order to improve their chances of gaining work. It called for better labour activation programmes including a focus on ‘‘lifelong learning’’ and ‘‘comprehensive integration’’ programmes to be introduced to address these issues. Eurostat also says that formal qualifications should be more easily recognised across states in order to allow people to access work in skilled professions.
peak, the cost of a building a new house exceeds the sale price in many instances and Coveney said government would help cut the cost by funding infrastructure projects on key sites and by freeing up state-owned land for residential development. A Help to Buy scheme similar to the British government’s mortgage guarantee program will be introduced in October’s Budget to help boost demand among first-time buyers, alongside supply side measure to try to stop the scheme just resulting in higher house prices. Coveney said the government would discuss the scheme with Ireland’s Central Bank which introduced strict new deposit rules to curb excessive mortgage lending last year. The scheme will be back-dated to ensure activity does not stall in the meantime. The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) the ‘bad bank’ set up in 2009 to mop up toxic assets in the financial system, will also be put under pressure to see if it can deliver more than the 20,000 new homes it has promised to build by 2020, Coveney said. Rents have soared as a result of the shortages and are above peaks hit during the property boom in Dublin, damaging Ireland’s competitiveness and driving an increasing number of families still suffering from the financial crisis into homelessness.
Microsoft Finally Relents, Buys LinkedIn In recent years, many popular social tools have been either under speculation of purchase or have actually been acquired by other software giants, including Whatsapp, Instagram and Snapchat. However, in recent news, Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26 billion. This follows their recent purchase of Skype a few years ago.
LinkedIn is just a year older than Facebook, and one would expect for it to have a bit more to offer than just potential. However, Skype had a similar journey - it was a popular tool long before it became commonplace. Launched at around the same time as LinkedIn, Skype made very little money, although millions of people used it. In 2011, Microsoft bought Skype for $8,5 billion in a move that punters perceived as lunacy, as it had yet to prove its revenue generating ability. But Microsoft integrated a variety of their other products with Skype, giving it a much wider range of play and it is now performing well, revenue-wise.
How this pending acquisition will impact on Ireland, is yet to be seen. After all, LinkedIn employs around 1,000 people in Ireland, and Microsoft employs another 1,200, in addition to a constantly changing and evolving cast of contractors. While LinkedIn has never been as popular as the younger social brands, and the profitability and end game looks much more ubiquitous, it does have a magnificent amount of data and heaps of potential.
WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE LINKEDIN? It is clear that Microsoft is not acquiring the recruitment platform for its revenue generation capacity, but rather for its ability to collect data. They will probably integrate it into their Dynamics CRM tools, which are used by companies to generate leads. Should a company add someone to its leads list, Dynamics CRM can use LinkedIn to show them people with whom the lead interacts. That means that a lead who ignores the company, still offers access to other connections. At the moment, the connection is sparse, but when Microsoft owns the platform, they will have a much deeper cohesion. Companies pay a lot of money for lead insights, and thatâ€™s where owning LinkedIn will empower Microsoft. It is clear that Microsoft is not looking to make a mark as much as it is to gain market share in the sector. The giant already has roots in the bulk of business infrastructure, ranging from top tier enterprise to small and medium enterprises, and with the acquisition of Skype showed that they are resourceful enough to increase their average income per user. Although many users perceive LinkedIn as a bore, it offers a trove of data regarding our work and that makes it a big bet for Microsoft.
MEET THE TEAM Denis Lane
Audit & Tax Compliance Partner
Denis is an experienced Accountant and an affiliated member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland. Having trained with one of the major international practices, he subsequently worked in the UK and also spent time as a Senior Accountant in industry. He has been in practice, as Founding Partner in the Firm, since 1978. He has a broad and practical knowledge of many business types and a wealth of experience in solving and providing solutions to the many financial and taxation problems associated with effective and successful Business Management. This includes Incorporated and Unincorporated entities, Partnerships, Family Businesses, covering a large variety of different businesses and professions. He is also a qualified Personal Insolvency Practitioner. In these difficult times, Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Advice are frequently needed for many businesses.
Gary is a qualified member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland. A Statutory Auditor and qualified Personal Insolvency Practitioner, he has over a decadeâ€™s experience dealing with the audit, taxation and advisory issues of a variety of business enterprises. Having trained and worked in practice during this time, he has gained a wealth of knowledge in the fields of Accounting and Taxation. As a Partner, Gary is committed to achieving excellence by ensuring that a high quality service is continually provided to our clients. Keeping up-to-date with the latest IT and business management innovations is an area in which he takes particular interest, and he is experienced in the practical implementation of the related business solutions.
Audit & Taxation Manager
Audit & Taxation Senior
Siobhan is a qualified Certified Public Accountant, having been admitted to full membership in 2005. Siobhan has been in practice throughout her working life, having gained an in depth knowledge of Business, Taxation and the many other issues facing individuals and SMEs. She works closely with our clients, to assist them with their various business needs by applying this experience in finding practical and effective solutions.
Jennifer is a member of the Association of Chartered Accountants having joined the practice in 2004 from overseas. Jennifer is a valuable member of our team with detailed and practical knowledge of the Taxation and Accounting issues facing individuals and SME owners having developed a professional relationship with the clients of the Practice.
Gerard Murphy Accountancy & Payroll Ger is a vastly experienced and qualified book-keeper, with an indepth knowledge of VAT, Intersat and Nominal Ledge processing. Ger is a member of the Institute of Accounting Technicians in Ireland and has worked in practice for 20 years. Ger also specialises in Payroll, is up to date with the issues facing employers in Ireland, and is on hand to provide practical advice to our clients.
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•• Avoid Extensive Legal Arbitration •• Includes Financial Modelling
COMPANY SECRETARIAL •• Company Formation •• Filing of Statutory Returns •• Business Name Registration
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