Manning Financial Autumn 2017

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2017 ECONOMIC OUTLOOK Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev



TABLE OF CONTENTS Economic Outlook - Alice In The Wonderland: The EU Banking Reforms Dr Constantin Gurdgiev Happy But Exhausted: 4 Tips For Reversing Worker Burnout Business Briefs Good Reasons To Encourage Self Control Among Employees Legal Briefs 10 Ways To ‘‘Tech Up’’ Your Business 7 Traits of Exceptional Coaches Meet The Team Range of Services


Welcome to the Autumn 2017 edition of MF Times. I hope you all had an enjoyable summer. We are now in the last quarter of the year which is always a very busy one, particularly with the pension season and the Budget. As always, this newsletter contains a variety of articles which I hope will be of interest to you and your business. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 021 2428185 or Breon.

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Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev

ALICE IN THE WONDERLAND: THE EU BANKING REFORMS This August, the world marked the tenth anniversary of the Global Financial Crisis that entered its active phase on August 9th, 2007 when BNP Paribas ended clients’ withdrawals from three hedge funds it operated due to “a complete evaporation of liquidity”. Thirteen months later, on September 7th, 2008, two main ‘Federally mandated’ lenders, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, were nationalised, and eight days after that, the Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Just over two weeks after that, Ireland issued a blanket Guarantee of its banks. The crisis turned fully systemic, spreading contagion from the banks to the sovereigns to the real economies, spreading from the U.S. to all corners of the world and triggering the Great Recession. The rest, as some say, is history.

Over the subsequent years, the Fed, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank (ECB), alongside other central banks, deployed rapidly escalating and increasingly unorthodox and costly measures attempting to shore up markets’ liquidity, and subsequently support the economy. The U.S. Treasury and other fiscal authorities around the world pushed into the markets to provide support for banks and financial intermediaries. Waves of nationalisations and resolutions of the banking, insurance, pensions and

investment undertakings swept across the advanced economies and spilled over into a number of key emerging markets. The painful process of deleveraging prompted political shifts and crises that still reverberate across Western electorates, as well as in Asia and Latin America. Debt transfers from banks to governments, subsidised by the Central Banks, have led to an unprecedented increase in the real economic indebtedness around the world, raising total global leverage of households, non-financial corporations and sovereigns from $149 trillion or 276% of global GDP in 2007 to $217 trillion or 327% of GDP at the end of 2Q 2017.


THE PROMISE HELD HIGH With all the emergency efforts in place, however, the policymakers around the world have held high the promise that as bad as the Global Financial Crisis might have been, the lessons from it will ensure that never again will the advanced economies create the conditions for another similar crisis to wreck devastation over the global financial system. And to provide concrete footing for this promise, the leaders

of the EU, the U.S. and other major advanced economies have promised to dramatically reform their banking sectors to make it more resilient to shocks and to remove the implicit guarantee of transfers from taxpayers to the failing banks. Ten years after the start of the crisis, they did not deliver on these promises. Plain and simple.

THE TEST CASE OF ITALY Consider the events of 2017 to-date. This June, two relatively small Italian banks had to be, once again, rescued using the taxpayers funds. The bailouts were not trivial, totalling commitments of up to €17 billion (US$19.3 billion). More significantly, the rescues raised the question as to whether the European Union’s Banking Union system can be made work in the case of the larger, systemically important institutions running into trouble. The Italian bailout of 2017 involved the country’s largest bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, taking over the good assets of its smaller rivals Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca for a nominal price of one Euro. The Italian taxpayers underwrote the task of covering the losses and the bad loans. The deal got an approval of the European Commission, a nod from the ECB and a handshake from the European Single Resolution Board (SRB) - all the institutions whose job, per European Banking Union (EBU) rules, was to ensure that taxpayers were not on the hook for bad banks’ debts. In other words, just as with the ECB’s QE, the rules were broken, yet the rules were met. European banking regulators and politicians have eaten the cake that they still insist they keep. Reminiscent of the Cypriot bailout of March 2013 (that took some 17 months to structure and execute), the Italian banks bailout was 15 months in the working - a clear sign that the Italian and European authorities were going to great lengths in putting the veneer of compliance with the EBU rules on a deal that, in the end, violated the very spirit of these rules. The reason for this length in structuring the deal is that the Italian and the EU policymakers were desperate to avoid bailing in the bondholders in the two banks. In other words, the reason for the delay in 2017 bailout was exactly the same as the reasons for delaying Spanish, Portuguese, Greek and Cypriot bailouts. This is the first “plus ça change” moment for the post-Crisis European banking reforms.

While the two banks were non-systemic in size, they had large numbers of retail investors - mom-and-pop holders of banks’ bonds involved. To cut back the risk of political unrest, the Italian government shifted some of the earlier losses in the two banks to the semi-private rescue fund, Atlante, created back in 2015. The fund absorbed some €3.5 billion worth of the two banks’ losses, but that was hardly sufficient. As the two banks continued to lose deposits, Italian and European authorities, by the late 2016, were left with no options to shore up the remaining depositors and to shield them from a bail in. The third “plus ça change” moment for the European Banking Union has arrived: although the European reforms provided for a joint depositor guarantee fund, the fund had no real money to underwrite two regional lenders, without exhausting cash earmarked for the too-big-to-fail systemically important institutions. In other words, the fund turned out to be a pure paper tiger in the face of a small crisis, raising questions as to its sufficiency in case of a systemic banking crisis in the future.

The rationale for avoiding a bail in of banks debt was also identical to the reasons put forward in not bailing in the Irish, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish and Cypriot bondholders: the concern that applying haircuts on senior bank debt will trigger a contagion across the Italian (and by corollary the European) banking system. This was the second “plus ça change” moment for the reforms, which were explicitly designed to prevent such contagion.


By the end of February this year, it was clear that the Italian authorities had no other option left than to pursue a “precautionary recapitalisation” of the two lenders. This procedure requires, under the new set of European rules, that shareholders take the first hit in covering capital shortfalls, followed by junior bondholders. If the capital cushion remains inadequate post-junior bondholders bail in, the new system allows for a simultaneous bailing in of senior bondholders and provision of taxpayers supports. The Italian authorities decided to deploy only the first step, of bailing in shareholders. Which proved insufficient not only in terms of covering future capital losses, but even in covering existent losses at the time.

Which marks the fourth “plus ça change” moment for the EU reforms: as in the case of all peripheral Euro area countries heading into their respective bailouts, the system of risk warnings have failed the public, the policymakers and the regulators. In not a single European bailout of 2008-2013 did the supervisory and regulatory authorities pro-actively spotted the developing risks. And the reforms post-crisis did not change this inherent, systemic incapacity to assess risks either. It is worth noting that SRB decision to declare Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca non-systemic was based on the lenders holding assets of €28 billion and €35 billion, respectively, at the time of the bailout. Alas, the main reason why the two banks fell below the SRB thresholds for designating a bank as systemically important was that the SRB delayed issuing its decision until the crisis hit banks have bled enough assets to slip under the SRB thresholds. Whether incompetence, or worse, intent were behind this outrun of events is the moot point. The SRB and SSM pillars of the Euro area banking reforms has failed once again. “Plus ça change” moment number five is that after reforming the system of banks supervision, the Euro area still ended up with a situation, where extend-and-pretend measures were deployed to superficially conceal the true nature of the two banks’ insolvency, imposing unnecessary delays in resolving the problem, and, as a result, amplifying losses to the taxpayers. This is exactly what has happened during the peak of the crisis in Ireland, Spain and Greece, as well as in Cyprus.

All along, the ECB’s new Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) - designed as a warning system for banks solvency risks and serving as a cornerstone of the banking sector reforms - insisted that the Italian banks were solvent. Only two days before the announcement of the final taxpayersfunded bailout in June this year did the SSM acknowledge that the banks are “failing or likely to fail”. In theory, the SSM was set up back in 2015 to explicitly put some distance between the banking regulators’ and supervisors’ risk assessments and the national governments. In practice it failed. A similar failure also involved the SRB which was also set up to remove national political leaders from meddling with the decisions involved in shutting down insolvent banks. It took SRB until a day before the official banks rescue to declare the two Italian lenders to be ‘non-systemic’, de facto washing SRB’s hands of any responsibility for restructuring them.

SYSTEMIC FARCE In other words, within the 15 months span through to June 2017, all and every part of the European banking reforms package designed to create a structured system for resolving banking failures, have been found inadequate in the case of just two regional lenders. The end result of this farce was that Italian taxpayers were left on the hook, while senior banks bondholders were left whole and happy. The rules were circumvented, bent, but de sure, not broken. De facto, however, the whole policy infrastructure for addressing the banks’ insolvency was exposed as a fake facade, hiding the same old rotten building as the one that existed in the pre-2008 world. Adding insult to the already grave injury, the Italian deal used taxpayers money to directly subsidise Intesa Sanpaolo - the bank that took over performing assets from the regional banks. Inset got allots € 4.8 billion in cash for capital and operating expenses, plus €400 million in loans guarantees. In exchange for these monies, the Italian Government did not even get a single share in Intesa. Paraphrasing the old Dire Straits song, the new EU banks resolution infrastructure turned out to be “Money for nothin’ and assets for free” for Intesa.


INVESTORS WARNED In fairness to the SRB and the European Banking Union other key players, the reforms process worked differently in the earlier test of the system, involving Spain’s Banco Popular that was wound down earlier in June this year. In that deal, the ECB was quick in declaring Banco Popular as being troubled, or, in terminology of ECB “failing or likely to fail”. The SRB promptly took control, wiping out Banco Popular’s shareholders and haircutting junior bondholders before another Spanish bank, Santander, was asked to raise its own funds to finance the buyout of Popular’s assets. However, despite the accolades from the analysts and politicians, the Banco Popular’s winding down was a superficially easy test of the system, as it required no haircuts of senior bondholders and Santander faced no difficulty raising own finance. This is not what the resolution mechanism was designed to test.

Bank of England warned at the end of June that the U.K. financial system is heading in a worrying direction and that banks are “forgetting the lessons” of the financial crisis. Last year, the IMF warned that the Euro area continues to experience “market pressures” within the banking sector. The Fund estimated the some €900 billion of non-performing loans remain on the books of Eurozone lenders. In July 2017, the IMF issued a warning to the world’s 20 largest economies, the G20, stating that the current markets conditions present growing risks to global growth, and that financial systems vulnerabilities “present an immediate concern”. In June this year, Bank for International Settlements defined four non-political risks that are underpinning rising threat of a new economic crisis. Risks number two and three: financial stress as financial cycle matures across the advanced economies, and global debt levels continued upward trend.

Instead, the Banking Union infrastructure was developed explicitly to handle tough cases, like the Italian banking system that still holds €300 billion worth of bad assets, based on Banca d’Italia estimates, of which roughly €170 billion are officially non-performing. To-date, resolution of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS), and Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca, have cut only about €49 billion of rotten assets from the system. In the case of the BMPS, the end cost to the taxpayers of recapitalisation was in the region of €5.4 billion. The gross cost to the taxpayers of resolving less than €50 billion of defaulting assets has been around €23 billion, counting direct bailouts, plus costs. If the trend continues, Italian taxpayers can be looking at writing more cheques in years ahead.

In this environment, Irish banks are sitting ducks for risk and uncertainty associated with the fortunes of the international financial system. While the banking sector in Ireland has undergone significant deleveraging, profit margins across sector remain relatively weak, despite the banks pumping out some of the highest cost lending in the Euro area. And bad loans remain a stubborn legacy of the crisis, placing the Irish banking sector as the third worst in the Euro area by this metric some nine years after the crisis peak, behind only Greece and Cyprus. Deleveraging across the domestic Irish lenders since 2013 has cut non-performing loans loads from an average of 27 percent to just over 14.2 percent as at the end of 2016, and to an estimated 13 percent at the end of 1H 2017. However, this figure remains more than double the 5.3 percent Euro area average. Meanwhile, recent rights issuances and significant Contingent Convertible bonds placements by the Irish banks, in all likelihood, have nearly exhausted the room for near-future market funding through these sources. This means that Irish banks are still walking on thin ice and any exogenous shock can trigger a new wave of contagion into Irish financial system. Given the latest track record of the European Banking Union reforms, such a shock will most likely lead to a re-nationalisation of at least the weaker Irish lenders.

From the Irish investors perspective, the de facto failure of the European banking reforms implies higher risk over the longer term horizon. Research from the Bank for International Settlements shows clearly that the financial crises are becoming both more frequent and more severe. Last month, the ex-Chairman of the U.S. Fed, Alan Greenspan warned that the current conditions in the bonds markets the bread-and-butter of the banks’ capital reserves - can be characterised as an ‘‘irrational exuberance’’ type moment.

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.



According to a recent survey of American office workers, they are mostly happy, but also tired. It sounds like an oxymoron. Is it even possible to feel such conflict, and how can it be resolved? The answer probably lies in the fact that most people enjoy their work, and appreciate the opportunity to use their strengths. However, in many workplaces, it is difficult for people to maintain a healthy work/life balance, avoid stress, and in many cases say ‘no’ when their workload is too heavy. Unless people find a solution to this challenge, they may develop fatigue and other issues.


Employers can use the four tips below to devise solutions to employees spending too much time working.



Assess the time workers spend on completing their tasks, and discourage them from feeling compelled to remain plugged in 24/7. Workers will be more effective and productive if they have time to recharge away from office pressures. Encourage sufficient overlapping of responsibilities and teamwork to enable someone to handle gaps and emergencies without pressuring everyone to constantly be available.



Many surveys on remote working and flexi hours have illustrated the benefits of allowing workers to choose their workplaces and work hours. Telecommuting workers, for example, have the advantage of adjusting their time and workplace in order to avoid conflicts with family life and other responsibilities. By providing this option, within reason, of course, you show a willingness for constructing their working arrangements around their family and other non-work demands, which fosters appreciation and loyalty. In turn, you create happy, relaxed and productive employees.



Research shows that meetings are one of the leading causes of time wasted at work. Ensure that all meetings have thoughtout agendas, and that they end with clear action steps. If you have to have meetings, consider doing so electronically to reduce wasted time and travel. Also work actively to reduce email overload.



Encourage employees to take a break throughout the day. Major tech companies provide amenities which allow employees to take a time out, whether it is a nap, a round of table tennis, or just a place to get out of the office for a moment. A break provides a good opportunity to enhance creativity and increase physical energy.


diseases; and I- FORM will enhance processing efficiency for Irish manufacturing, allowing the production of highly customised 3D printed components. The four SFI research centres will engage in more than 80 collaborations with industry partners both at home and abroad. Announcing the new centres, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the investment would help create jobs and drive economic growth and the SFI research centres represent a shared vision and collaboration between government, industry and higher education. Director General of SFI and the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof Mark Ferguson, said last year Ireland was ranked 10th for the overall quality of scientific research carried out here and that research centres had been central to this success. He commented that research and innovation matter for our future - in enhancing productivity, boosting competitiveness and tackling modern societal challenges together with ‘building a digitally-smart, low carbon, energy efficient, circular economy that offers well-paid, rewarding work and brings a good quality of life for all’.

FOUR NEW WORLD-CLASS RESEARCH CENTRES OPENED Four new world-class research centres are to be opened in Ireland as part of a multi-million Euro investment. The Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) centres, which will be focused on the areas of smart manufacturing, neurotherapeutics, bioeconomy, and 3D printing, will receive €74m in government funding and €40m from their respective industries over the next six years. In total, the four centres will directly support some 650 highly skilled researchers. The investment will support cuttingedge basic and applied research, with strong industry engagement, driving economic benefits and positive societal impact. The four research centres will focus on the following: CONFIRM aims to transform Ireland’s manufacturing industry to become a world-leader in smart manufacturing; BEACON will develop alternative technologies based on renewable biological resources; FutureNeuro is looking for treatments for chronic and rare neurological


Business surveys have been similarly supportive and the Investec Purchasing Managers’ index rose to 56.1 in August from 54.6 a month earlier, reaching the highest level since July 2015, well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction. While Ireland is particularly vulnerable to Brexit due to its close trading links with Britain, manufacturers are proving increasingly resilient to any early impact with the subindex measuring new export orders rising to 55.6 from 54.6 in July. Export orders contracted for the first time in three years ahead of last year’s Brexit referendum but the sector has recovered and grown strongly all year.

A recent survey has revealed that, Irish manufacturing sector growth hit a two-year high in August as firms’ expansion into more markets and securing of new business added to signs that the booming economy is showing few signs of slowing down. Ireland has had the best performing economy in the European Union since 2014 and economists say continued jobs, wage and consumption growth back up Government forecasts for a further 4.3% expansion in Gross Domestic Product this year.



Only 16% of millennials surveyed across 186 countries said they are willing to sacrifice career and salary to enjoy life. Similar results were found in an Irish-specific survey recently carried out by LinkedIn, with 6 out of 10 people saying they were interested in changing jobs, primarily because of pay. Providing their views on technology, almost 8 in 10 young people surveyed by the WEF believe technology will create jobs rather than destroy them. When asked to name the next big technology trend, 28% of survey respondents said that artificial intelligence will make the most significant impact, while education is seen as the sector that is most likely to benefit from the adoption of new technologies. However, despite positive views on technology, only 3.1% strongly agreed that they would trust robots to make decisions on their behalf.

More than 80% of young people globally would move overseas to advance their careers - with the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia the most desirable countries to move to for job opportunities. The Global Shapers Annual Survey of 25,000 people under the age of 35, carried out by the World Economic Forum, also found that salary came top as the most important criteria when considering job opportunities, followed by a sense of purpose and career advancement.


During this time the company has signed contracts with 6 FTSE 100 companies and the company’s client listing includes GSK, Skanska, Sage, Irish Life, Legal & General, Generali and others. The latest recruitment drive will grow the Global Shares team to a total of 228 staff members across the company’s 10 offices in Clonakilty, Cork City, Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Portugal, Germany, New Jersey, California and Hong Kong. Tim Houstoun, CEO of Global Shares, hailed the jobs announcement as significant in that the company exceeded their 3 year expansion target which was set in 2015. Some of the new positions are supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland, and Martin Corkery, regional director, South and South East, Enterprise Ireland described Global Shares as ‘‘a great example of an Irish Fintech business with global ambition’’.

West Cork-based Global Shares is to create 80 new jobs, bringing its total global employee base to 228. The roles are across a number of areas of the business including IT, finance, multi-lingual share plan analysts, and trading and legal. The company, which provides share plan administration software, share-dealing, global custody and financial reporting tools, said that recruitment will begin immediately, with all roles to be filled over the next two years. The majority of the roles will be based in Ireland, primarily at the Global Shares headquarters in Clonakilty Co Cork. Founded in 2005, Global Shares has in the past two years seen its client base grow from 150 to 250 clients based in 25 countries, with participants in over 100 countries globally.


Andrew Harker, a senior economist at IHS Markit, said that face to face spending has moved closer to stabilisation highlighting that hopefully the high street can start to contribute to growth again in the near future. E- commerce spending rose for the third month in a row, with expenditure rising by 8.9% compared to the same month last year. According to Visa, “this trend underlines the growth in popularity of online shopping among Irish shoppers”. Research released recently by the European Commission showed that the strongest growth in the number of online shoppers across the EU last year was in Ireland. At least 59% of the Irish population made an online purchase in 2016. One sector which saw a spending reduction was health and education, where spending dropped 2.8% . However, this is believed to be a seasonal decline. Mr Harker commented that that Visa Irish Consumer Spending Index demonstrates further evidence of ‘building growth momentum in household spending following a soft-patch earlier in 2017’ with encouraging signs from categories that had been struggling previously. Consumer confidence is increasing again and this results in increased consumer spending, according to Philip Koponik.

Hotels, restaurants and bars have posted the fastest increase in consumer spending, seeing growth of 9.1% year-on-year. Philip Konopik, Visa Ireland country manager, said the growth was down to increased spending on the “experience economy rather than on things”. According to Visa’s Irish Consumer Spending Index, while spending remains modest, the rate of expansion has accelerated over three consecutive months. Face-to-face expenditure during the same period continued to drop, however, the pace of the fall is the slowest so far this year at -0.5%. Mr Konopik noted that this was a reflection of consumer behaviour, as a result of there being more options available, consumers are changing their habits. He commented that there is huge diversity across Europe of how people choose to pay for goods. For example, UK consumers would spend more on eCommerce as a result of the better availability of services like online grocery shopping.


GOOD REASONS TO ENCOURAGE SELF-CONTROL AMONG EMPLOYEES Self-control has been a focus of many studies for centuries. It has been debated by the early psychologists and philosophers alike. Freud believed that self-control is the essence of civilised life, a sentiment reflected in modern times by Tim Ferris, author of the 4-Hour Work Week. Plato’s perception was that the human experience was a constant struggle between rationality and desire. In order to achieve our ideal form, we have to exercise self-control.


In his work, Aleph, Paulo Coelho wrote, ‘‘If you conquer yourself, then you conquer the world.’’ Stephen R. Covey reflected the same sentiments in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, where he wrote ‘‘The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person.’’

Self-control is an important key to cultivating an ethical and effective workplace. Research has shown three powerful factors that may help effective leaders to increase the self-control of their employees.

Recent studies revealed that people with high levels of selfcontrol tend to: • • • •

make healthier food choices; perform better at school; build higher-quality friendships; be better leaders at work.

However, lack of self-control in the workplace has dire consequences, according to a recent study. Let’s look at what the study revealed about people with low levels of self-control.

1. Encourage good sleeping habits Sleep restores self-control. Employees who experienced fewer sleep interruptions were found to be able to exercise self-control better than those who are sleep deprived. Long work hours can have a negative impact on the behaviour of employees.

ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR Poor self-control causes employees to sweep work problems under the rug and to resist helping other employees. Employees who lack self-control tend to avoid engaging in corporate volunteerism.

2. Tap into displayed emotions


Instead of focusing only on service with a smile, which only pleases customers for a short while, companies should instead teach employees to tap into the emotions of their customers. A study examined the effects of physicians who took on the perspective of their patients, and experienced genuine empathy. As a result, the physicians experienced higher levels of self-control and lower levels of burnout.

Professionals with low self control resources tend to be rude and unhelpful and, often, are more likely to engage in fraudulent or unethical behaviours.

POOR PERFORMANCE Employees who have below-average levels of self-control tend to exert less effort and are more distracted at work. They choose to spend less time conquering more complicated tasks, and generally perform worse than peers with high levels of self-control.

3. Create the right environment From the office decor to displaying the company’s code of conduct in clear view, there is much you can do to help prevent negative behaviours associated with employees’ lack of selfcontrol. The right environment will help avoid the temptation to behave unethically.

NEGATIVE LEADERSHIP STYLES A leader with low self-control will often exhibit counterproductive leadership actions, such as verbal abuse.




Diners Club and American Express cards. If a merchant imposes surcharges on those cards, the surcharge must not exceed the direct costs borne by the merchant to accept the card. The department added that this country opted to reduce some of the charges that processors of card payments can impose, in a move that made it cheaper for retailers to accept electronic payments. Known as interchange rates, Ireland now has some of the lowest rates of interchange fees on debit cards in the EU, the spokeswoman said. Dermott Jewell, of the Consumers’ Association, said the move to ban surcharges was long overdue. He said the Government had promised in the past to get rid of the charges, but deadlines for their abolition had been constantly missed. He said charging customers for using credit cards is discriminatory and anticonsumer. Mr Jewell said when consumers pay by card the companies save on cash handling, security provision, human resources and insurance costs. Consumer groups said the change in the law is likely to mean some companies will simply put up their prices, to make up for the loss of charges they impose on card payments.

Consumers will no longer have to pay surcharges for using credit cards from the start of next year. New European Union rules will ban the charge that can add 2% to the cost of goods or services. The worst offenders currently are airlines and ticket sellers, and small businesses which typically add a fee for cards. But the revised EU Payment Services Directive will ban surcharging on all payment cards covered by the EU Interchange Fee Regulation. It comes into force on January 13th, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Finance. This means a merchant will no longer be able to charge extra for accepting a consumer card covered by that regulation. This will ban surcharges on Visa and Mastercard credit card payments. The spokeswoman said this would lead to the end of surcharging on the vast majority of consumer cards. However, some cards not covered by EU rules will still be able to impose surcharges. These are understood to include


As well as minimum unit pricing, the Bill includes provisions to regulate advertising and sponsorship of alcohol, to provide health labelling on products and to ensure structural separation of alcohol in shops. The Minister said he had taken on board concerns raised in the Seanad that the requirements would place an undue financial burden on small business owners and he would reflect that in amendments to the legislation in October.

Legislation to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol could pass all stages of both Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming session, Minister for Health Simon Harris has said. Speaking in Dublin at the launch of Recovery Month, an initiative being championed by the Rutland Centre for addiction treatment, Mr Harris called on all political parties and Independents to “step up to the plate” and support the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.


Speaking at the launch of the annual Courts Service Report, Ms Justice Denham said there are genuine concerns over the dissemination of false claims. She said there are several areas that need to be addressed to protect the right to a fair trial in this era of social media. Draft guidelines, she said, are needed to decide who can and cannot use social media in a courtroom. Mr Flanagan said there are many challenges in the area of law reform and it is essential that the law is fully up to date.

The Minister For Justice has said he is keen to have a review of Irish contempt laws in relation to social media. Charlie Flanagan’s comments come after the Chief Justice said the use of social media in the courtroom must be addressed. Ms Justice Susan Denham has written to the President of each court this week with a draft discussion paper on guidelines.



YOUR BUSINESS Let’s face it, the world revolves around technology and if you want to make it in this world, it’s time to ensure your company’s technology is up-to-speed. Here are the ten aspects to consider first, when you decide to update your company’s technology.





Most of us fear the idea of moving files and documents from old desktops to powerful, sleek and secure laptops, mainly due to the perceived risk of losing data. However, if your PC is older than 5 years, you risk losing it all in a breakdown.

Europe has been under attack by Ransomware such as Wannacry, that has pillaged schools, hospitals and other vulnerable institutions. The minimum requirements for dealing with threats, include:

If you’re worried about moving your files, you can now rest assured that they will be safe and sound, thanks to a number of easy-to-use downloadable services that take care of the heavy lifting to ensure your files, as well as some of your applications and programmes, are safely copied to the same locations on your new laptop. All you need is a decent broadband connection, as the services use web links. Here are some of the services you could try:

newest operating system

up-to-date security software

two-factor authentication for sensitive or passwordprotected information

Laplink’s PCMover (




Google Photos

Any information that you cannot afford to lose should be backed up on a daily basis. Use an online backup and recovery service, such as Keep It Safe or Iron Mountain to take care of the heavy lifting for your small business. is another user-friendly, affordable and effective solution for sole traders.


Laplink PCMover (from €23.95) can be used for all your files, while Dropbox and Onedrive are free online storage services. Use them on an ongoing basis to never lose anything again. Flickr and Google Photos provide almost unlimited storage for image files and videos.


According to Comreg, Ireland still has more than 3,000 active dialup Internet services and more than 100,000 active ISDN lines, most being legacy connections. While some of these connect devices to payment terminals, a great many are simply overlooked. Don’t pay for services you don’t use. Scrutinise your bills and close down any accounts or services you pay for but no longer use. By the same token, clear up unused email accounts and update online directories and social media accounts with current and correct information.




Ireland’s latest online access figures show that close to 5% of all PCs still use older operating systems, such as Windows 8, Vista or XP. Many of these machines are used for specific utilities, such as hospital scanners and ATMs, but many are still used to run offices and shops. Using old operating systems is negligent, as it opens you up to cyber attacks and malware. Microsoft no longer provides security support for older operating systems.

8 4

Many small business assume that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is only for large corporations, and that’s not accurate. The GDPR law tightens up data protection and privacy rules while imposing penalties and fines for infringements. Small firms also face administrative fines, rather than just a slap on the wrist. There will be no more court dates, just massive administrative fines.


Paperless systems save time. When you use paperless methods, you don’t have to waste any more time on filing and shuffling. An increasing number of small businesses are adopting paperless transactions using digital signature software such as Docusign.

If you don’t know the laws, now is the time to brush up on your knowledge, and allocate GDPR duties to a member of staff.

Digital signatures carry full legal effect, and even law firms are using it. Instead of sending out physical letters, law firms send PDF documents by email. Any physical correspondence they receive is date-stamped, scanned and assigned to clients’ digital files.



If your company has an innovative and actionable idea and solid business plan, you should be able to fund it easily with the help of competing state grants and funds. State bodies such as Enterprise Ireland and private venture capital firms place more than €1bn into both Irish start-ups and established companies every year. Frontline Ventures invests between €200,000 to €3m into startup software companies, while Enterprise Ireland invested in 229 companies (average €140,000) in 2016.



Tired of losing your phone contacts in the event of a lost or stolen phone? You can now save them to Google Contacts and never lose anyone again. Simply go to ‘settings’ on iPhone or Android and copy your SIM contacts onto the phone, and then into your Google account from where you can always access your contacts.

One in eight applications for Enterprise Ireland’s €50,000 equity investment scheme were granted, which left many business owners disappointed. However, Local Enterprise Boards are on hand with more local aids and grants. Enterprise Ireland also provides hundreds of €5,000 innovation vouchers which can be used to improve your small business’ online capability and modernise your technology.





The most dangerous thought that crosses Irish business owners’ minds, is thinking that online marketing does not apply to their business. According to Amarach Research, Irish online sales have doubled in the last two years. A third of all sales occur online, compared to only 17% the year before. By the end of 2017, it is expected that 40% of all sales will occur online.


Paying a small fortune for a merchant account with the bank in order to accept credit cards online? Well, you can now save on costs while still having access to merchant services. Companies such as Stripe allow you to accept credit card transactions without the complications imposed by the big banks. If you’ve always wanted to trade online, you can now do so using your website and an online merchant service. Your website administrator will be able to easily incorporate the payment system into your website.

Like it or not, but your competitors are online. Ireland ranks first place out of 28 EU countries in terms of small businesses incorporating technology. Last year, we were in 3rd place. According to a report by the European Commission, we scored especially well in online sales and e-commerce, compared to other EU rivals. Almost one third of Irish SMEs sell products and services online, which is twice the European small business average. Don’t you think it’s time to pay more attention to your online channels?



COACHES Many leaders overestimate their own coaching abilities, however, the true measurement of skill does not lie in their belief, but rather in the results they achieve and the perception of the recipients of the coaching. A recent study examined the data of a survey in which 3,761 leaders had to rate their own coaching skills, and the assessments of others. The data of those who overrated their skills was compared to the results of those who underrated their skills. The findings were interesting.

25% of leaders overrated their skills, placing themselves as superior to other coaches. The coaches who underrated their skills, were found to possess above average coaching skills. Based on the assessment, if you think that you’re an above average coach, but you’re not really, the results indicate that you might be much worse than you imagined. Here are the 7 key traits shared by individuals who over-estimated their own abilities. See how you can turn these around to become an effective coach.



Ineffective coaches tend to be competitive, which is an unhealthy trait. An effective coach would rather find opportunities for collaboration and cooperation.

Good listeners rely on the perceptions of other people. They listen to understand, without judgment. They want to hear the thoughts and feelings that are of concern to other people.



A good coach understands that constructive criticism and honest, clear feedback with actionable steps can help people develop and improve their performance.

Exceptional coaches value the diversity that comes from different race, gender, and age. This attitude is internally motivated, rather than dictated by organisational rules and laws. These coaches truly appreciate and value the advantages of diversity.


The seven traits of effective coaches are valuable to a leader in any organisation. Of course, training is also valuable, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of your coaching career. Strive for neverending improvement.

Effective coaches create open, trusting environments where others can have positive and meaningful interactions.

Don’t be afraid to assess your coaching skills, and encourage your team to assess it too. The key to constantly evolving skills, lies in identifying blind spots and building on those. Good skills are a great start, but a good coach will always develop them further.

They understand the importance of trust and give credit where it is due. They actively seek out opportunities to praise and recognise others, making them exceptional role models.



Exceptional coaches understand the importance of developing others for the future by developing new skills. They invest the time and effort it takes to be fantastic at coaching.

Great coaches honour their commitments and keep their promises because they want to do the right thing.


MEET THE TEAM Breon Manning

Mike Sheehy

Financial Advisor

Business Development

Breon has been in the financial services industry for 14 years. Throughout his career he has gained specialist knowledge in all areas of financial planning, investment monitoring, portfolio construction and management as well as annuities and protection planning.

Mike has worked in the Financial Services and Property industry for the past 9 years. He gained his Bachelor of Business Studies degree in Economics and Finance through the University of Limerick before completing a Certificate in Auctioneering and Real Estate through IPAV and the Cork Institute of Technology.

Breon is a Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) and a TMITI Registered Tax Consultant. He holds specialist Diplomas in Wealth Management (Institute of Bankers) and Pensions (LIA) and is a Fellow of the Life Insurance Association of Ireland (FLIA). Breon also holds the designation of Registered Stockbroker (not practising).

He enjoys 7-a- side soccer, running and the very occasional round of golf. Favourite movies include Training Day, The Usual Suspects and Goodfellas. When Mike isn’t chasing around after he is two little girls they are watching their favourite movies Toy Story, Frozen and The Little Mermaid.

When Breon isn’t hard at work he enjoys a round of golf, swims and goes spinning to keep fit. He is married to Katrina and is kept busy at home with 3 cats and mans’ best friend Red.

Jean Manning

Patricia Radley

Financial Administrator

Marketing Coordinator

Jean joined Manning Financial in 2013. She holds a BSc Honours Degree in Real Estate and a Certificate in Property Management and Valuations.

Patricia is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the company’s offline and online marketing strategies.

Jean intends to follow in her brother Breon’s footsteps and become a Qualifed Financial Advisor.

Patricia graduated with a PhD in Education from UC and also holds an MSc in Food Business, a BBs in Marketing and a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing. She is also a member of the Marketing Institute.

When Jean isn’t running the day to day office, she enjoys Spinning, TRX and Kettlebells. She also has a secret love of watching Darts.

Patricia is a volunteer adult literacy tutor and enjoys reading, travelling and supports Manchester United.

Molly O’Shea Marketing Intern Molly assists in all marketing activities in the company. A born and raised San Franciscan, Molly moved to Cork last January. She attended college in New York where he played NCAA Division 1 Volleyball for 5 years. Molly received a BBA in Marketing and an MBA in Management with a Sports and Entertainment Certificate. Molly loves to travel and experience new places as well as keeping fit.




Mortgage Protection Term Insurance Serious Illness Income Protection Life Cover with Tax Relief (Section 785) •• Group Income Protection •• Group Death in Service

•• •• •• ••

•• •• •• •• ••

PENSIONS •• Personal Pensions •• •• •• •• ••

(for the Self Employed) PRSAs Executive Pensions (for company directors) Self-Administered Pensions Self-Directed Pensions Group Occupational Pension Schemes

Lump Sum Investments Bonds Structured Products Savings Plans

SPECIALIST ADVICE •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

Business Protection Partnership Insurance Inheritance Tax Relief and Estate Planning GMS Services for GPs Financial Services for Cohabiting Couples Pension Adjustment Orders Employee Benefit Schemes

MORTGAGES •• First Time Buyers, Investors and Trading Up •• Access To Best Rates in the Market 74 South Mall, Cork 021 2428185 087 8315054 Breon Manning Financial Ltd. trading as Manning Financial is regulated by The Central Bank of Ireland

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