Economic Outlook Dr Constantin Gurdgiev
BUSINESS BRIEFS TIPS FOR RETIREMENT PLANNING WAYS TO SAVE ON INSURANCE IN THE SPOTLIGHT Ciara Judge
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Table of contents Christmas Greetings ....................................................................................... P3 Year in Review ................................................................................................... P4 Economic Outlook - Dr Constantin Gurdgiev ...................................... P5 Business Briefs ................................................................................................... P8 Guide to Knowledge Development Box ................................................ P11 Ways to Save on Insurance .......................................................................... P12 Legal Briefs ......................................................................................................... P13 Could You Be The Next Manning Financial Partner? ......................... P16 Tips for Retirement Planning ...................................................................... P17 In the Spotlight - Ciara Judge...................................................................... P19 Meet the Team .................................................................................................. P21 Range of Services............................................................................................. P22
WELCOME Welcome to the Christmas edition of Manning Financialâ€™s newsletter. It has been a busy year for Manning Financial and the team is grateful for your business and support. I hope you enjoy this newsletter. Feedback is very important to us, so please let us know your thoughts on this newsletter and any suggestions you may have for future editions. On behalf of all the team at Manning Financial, I hope you have a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for a prosperous and successful 2016. Regards,
Merry Christmas 3
OUR YEAR IN REVIEW 2
Breon and Jean with President of Cork Chamber, August 12th 2015
Breon and Mike with Dr Constantin Gurdgiev Feb 2015
Breon with Billy Walsh at CPD Jumpstart, Cork Feb 2015
Jean and Patricia at VMWare's Diversity Event Nov 2015
Breon and Patricia at the Digtial Marketing Awards October 2015
We had a great time at the Ed Sheeran Concert in Croke Park in July
Irelandâ€™s only dedicated CPD site Our sister site CPD.ie is now launched Please click Below
Economic Outlook: The Bonds Market Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev Previously, I have raised the big theme of financial markets volatility. Coming on foot of the Summer 2015 Chinese Tremor and feeding into the already evolving trend of asset prices jitters around the world, the story of increased uncertainty was easy to spot. Widening bid-ask spreads and shrinking global growth prospects, return of leveraged investment strategies and bubble-like dynamics in retail investment markets in Asia Pacific (most notably – China) all signalled that the global investment outlook will remain prone to violent investor mood swings aided by continued monetary policies activism into the foreseeable future. This prediction turned out to be correct. Some 3 months since, there is still excess volatility in asset prices and pricing correlations (e.g. spreads between equities and fixed income, Brent and WTI, price correlations between gold and stocks and major currencies pairs) have all been pushed to test their historical or long-term norms. With them, predictability of historical hedging relations for core markets risks, such as bonds and commodities, weakened, re-enforcing the volatility spiral and impacting even the more conservative retail portfolios.
Government bonds on the boiler The new emerging pressure point in today’s misfiring markets is fixed income. Just as other classes’ returns correlations have been disrupted by the long running and unprecedented in scale monetary activism of the central banks, advanced economies’ bonds are now defying their conventional dynamics. Consider the following example. In traditional markets, interest rate swaps – a forward-looking bet on the direction of interbank interest rates – carry higher risk premium than the bonds of the major advanced economies. Thus, the U.S. Treasuries of shorter maturity (a de facto market benchmark for a risk-free rate) should,
in theory, enjoy lower yields than the U.S. interest rates swaps. Today, 30 year-dated interest rates swaps are resting below long-dated Treasuries yields. And since mid-summer, five-year swap rates have gone 0.05 percentage points under 5 year Treasury yields. Three year swap spreads are about to slip under similar maturity bonds next. So ‘safer’ U.S. Treasuries increasingly printing yields that are above the related interest rates swaps. The swap spreads are also turning negative in the UK and are at their historical lows in Australia. In a way, this means that some advanced economies’ banks are now considered to be a safer bet than, or nearly as safe of a bet as, the Governments that ultimately underwrite the financial system in which these banks operate. There are two key drivers for this bizarre phenomenon, both relating to post-crisis policies and both demand-driven. Firstly, bonds' investors anticipate the U.S. Fed to move further away from the crisis-period monetary supports for lower rates. Currently, markets expectations consensus, prices in probability of a 100 bps rates hike within 2016 at well over 60%. This supports higher yields on U.S. Treasuries, especially at lower end of maturity. The same momentum also supports falling European yields, as Euro area monetary policy is now expected to counter-move against the U.S. rates over much of 2016. However, higher policy rates are not expected to translate one-for-one into higher interbank rates, in part because U.S. banks have largely completed deleveraging and have some interest rates cushion to soften the policy rates reversal blow to the borrowers. That second driver is regulatory in nature. U.S. regulators' response to the Global Financial Crisis was to alter the nature of swaps trading, introducing centralised clearing platforms to induce greater transparency, liquidity and improve price discovery. This made it easier and cheaper for major counterparties, such as insurance companies, pensions’ funds and other big hedgers, to use swaps as risk hedging instruments. U.S. authorities also gold-plated Basel III capital regulations to include what is known as ‘supplementary leverage ratio’. This further pushed banks into swaps, reducing demand for sovereign debt. As the result, U.S. banks ended up holding lower levels of Treasuries in 3Q 2015 for the first time since 2013, despite continued interest in other government debt. This clean-up of the banks’ balance sheets is still ongoing, putting pressures on the demand for U.S. Treasuries. Irony has it, European bond markets are in exactly same predicament as the U.S. market, with a lag of around 9-12 months when it comes to policy rates and 24-30 months when it comes to the degree of post-crisis deleveraging. Thus, as ECB continues to purchase bonds and even accelerates its purchasing programme in December to compensate for the holiday second , investors are
being herded into European sovereign paper like lambs heading to the slaughterhouse. Over the last week in November, yields on European investment grade government bonds fell to new post-crisis and, on some occasions, historical lows. Spreads between bonds and interest rates swaps in the euro area markets, meanwhile, remained low, but positive. In the short run, these interest rates and exchange rates divergences between the U.S. and Europe will help sustain liquidity inflows into European fixed income. But once rates normalisation begins to loom on the European horizon, the problems currently faced by the U.S. markets participants will spread to Europe.
Chart 1: Euro area interest rates: duration and level of deviation from historical means [Source: Author’s own calculations based on data from ECB]
Corporate Junk Out of Favour
BofA Merrill Lynch option-adjusted spread – the spread that measures the average difference in yields between investment-grade bonds and the U.S. Treasuries –traditionally signals the quality of underlying credit conditions in the markets. In simple terms, a rising spread implies worsening credit conditions, slower economic growth and poor prospect for corporate profitability. Through mid-November 2015 OAS spreads averaged around 1.5 percent, with end of November spreads settling at around 1.6 percent, up on 1.3 percent average for 2014. The corporate bond market is a big elephant in the global economy’s china shop. Current valuations of secondary corporate debt markets put the volume of credit traded at over US$ 10 trillion – roughly double the amount at the end of 2005. This demand growth was driven primarily by the savings outflow from traditional deposits – squeezed by the low interest rates – and corresponding rise in popularity of fixed income funds. The demand was also propped up by the perception of corporate debt as low risk, relatively liquid instrument. The latter is no longer the case. Based on a recent paper from the Bank of England, market makers’ inventories of corporate bonds have shrunk by as much as 75 percent since the start of the Global Financial Crisis – a reduction, in part, driven by the regulatory changes relating to holdings of risky assets and especially those relating to the U.S. regulations. As the potential pool of traded assets and the size of inventories pipelines shrink, investors stuck in all fixed income funds and those holding direct positions in bonds are becoming sitting ducks for liquidity risk. As interest rates start to revert back to some sort of the longer-term historical ‘norms’, exiting the existent positions will become more costly and this will put more pressure on corporate borrowers’ bottom line.
However, the story of fixed income woes does not end on the Government end of the markets. Having endured some punishing beating in sovereign debt, corporate bonds investors are also pricing in pretty radical risks. Based on data from Bloomberg, U.S. corporate junk bonds are now trading at yields last seen in the disaster days of 2009. Lower-rated high risk paper yields averaging close to 15 percent, some nine percentage points above the higher rated junk bonds. So the spread between high risk and lower risk corporate junk is widening. In part, this is also down to the regulatory changes afoot across the U.S. financial sector. However, there is a more fundamental driver. Junk bonds issuance ballooned in recent years, spurred by corporates' demand to roll over previously acquired debt and to fund share buy-backs and M&As. This leveraging up in the corporate sector was running against the theme of low (and more recently falling) corporate earnings. Even for higher quality borrowers, such as the S&P 500 constituents, corporate profits growth has declined from around 10.2% annualised rate in 2Q 2014 to an estimated -5.1% in 4Q 2015, marking 4Q 2015 as the third consecutive quarter of sub-zero growth rates in profitability. In line with this, levels of corporate bonds rated close to default rose precipitously in 2014 and continued to rise over 2015. Credit downgrades have been running ahead of upgrades for months now, and volumes of distressed corporate debt in the U.S. was up to over USD210 billion in November from USD67 billion a year ago. In line with this, yields on investment grade U.S. corporate bonds also rose. By November 2015, BofA Merrill Lynch US Corporate Master Effective Yield spiked to 3.6 percent – the highest point since September 2013.
Once again, the problem with the U.S. corporate bonds' market is non-trivial from the Euro area perspective. Currently, ECB QE measures are being effective in driving down both the interbank interest rates (Euribor) and the retail rates charged by the banks on loans. However, the reductions in the former exceed declines in the latter, allowing European banks to maintain hefty lending margins and boosting their operating profits. If ECB policy rates normalisation trigger market responses similar to those observed in the U.S., we can see more aggressive pricing of corporate credit and simultaneously shrinking profit margins for European banks. Liquidity crunch in bonds markets can, thus, translate into a liquidity crunch in real credit markets.
Chart 2: Euribor (12 months) and Retail Rates Spreads on Policy Rate [Source: Authorâ€™s own calculations based on data from ECB, Eurostat and Euribor]
whilst pushing up borrowing costs for the U.S. government, and if this pattern repeats itself across other major economies, such as the UK, Canada and Australia, who will be left to prop up credit creation in the global economy? Since 1983 through to 2015, there was only one year when the U.S. did not run a current account deficit: 1991. This means, in simple terms, that throughout the past three decades, the U.S. economyâ€™s leveraging up was the core driver for current account surpluses (exports-led growth) in Europe and the Asia. Taking a dent to that leveraging means that either global growth will have to fall or Europe and/or Asia will have to start narrowing their current account surpluses. 2016 is promising to be an eventful year for global credit. Buckle your seat belts and be weary of liquidity risks.
A new deleveraging cycle? Another side effect is that as liquidity pressures rise, fixed income funds are starting to switch their bond holdings into cash and assets closer to maturity. This means that raising new funding can become more difficult and more costly for corporates, just as interest rates rise and just as debt maturities push demand for new issuance up. All of the risks outlined above imply that we can witness a massive break down of global capex and growth. Which brings us to the denouncement of this game of shifting fortunes in the fixed income class. If normalising interest rates does trigger a new wave of corporate debt deleveraging in the U.S.
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 Organization, Ltd and the Chairman of Ireland Russia Business Association. He holds non-executive appointment on the Investment Committee of Heinz Global Asset Management, LLC (US). In the past, Dr. 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 & 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, Russia, Dr. Gurdgiev was educated in the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University and Trinity College, Dublin.
An Post plans to take on banks with new current accounts Post offices will take on the banks with the launch of a new current account early next year. The move means that more than 1,000 post offices nationwide are set to challenge the dominance of the main banks by offering better-value payment accounts. It is understood that An Post has been trying to speed up its plans to widen its financial services offering, but has been hit by delays at government level. An Post aims to offer debit cards, full access to ATMs and point-of-sale facilities. It is also planning to allow its new current account customers to set up standing orders and direct debits from the new account. Also planned are budgeting facilities as part of the account, allowing people to spread out bills over a year. In keeping with moves to electronic banking, An Post's payment account would be accessible over the internet, by phone and by using an app.
An Post has no plans to restrict cash lodgements and withdrawals at post office counters. This could make the new payment account attractive to those uncomfortable with self-service banking. An Post has been trying to get back into consumer banking since Belgium bank Fortis pulled out of a joint venture with it, called Postbank, in 2010. Post offices currently offer banking services for customers of AIB and Ulster Bank. Providing banking services through post offices was recommended in a report compiled for Communications Minister Alex White in May by a committee headed by entrepreneur Bobby Kerr. A spokeswoman for An Post said: "Our plans for an afford- able and accessible payment account with banking features are well advanced and we continue to work with the Departments of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Finance and Social Protection in this regard."
Irish Food Sector enjoying year on year growth The Irish food service sector is continuing to enjoy year-on-year growth according to the latest report from Bord Bia. This market, which covers all food consumed outside of the home, from restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, and bars, to workplace catering, hospitals, education and vending machines, is currently valued at €6.37bn, compared to €6.13bn in 2014. This is forecasted to reach €6.9bn by 2018. The food service sector has benefited from growth in the wider economy, rising confidence among Irish consumers, a strong international and domestic tourism market, a falling unemployment rate, and the continuation of the 9pc VAT for hospitality. Bord Bia's latest consumer research shows that more than 60pc of consumers believe it is important to eat at restaurants which support local food suppliers. More than 50pc are looking for menus which list fresh ingredients when they are eating out.
Bord Bia bids for lucrative Chinese market Bord Bia is now targeting 1.5 million shoppers daily in China with a major online sale of fresh food and drink products. A partnership agreement in Shanghai with SF Best, one of the country's leading ecommerce platforms for fresh and frozen imported food, will promote a range of Irish products over the next 12 months. In the coming months products including Irish seafood, the Kerrygold dairy range, and various alcoholic beverages, will also be promoted on the SF Best site. "This is an ideal partnership for Bord Bia. Irish food is trusted by families in China as a safe, clean and healthy choice and SF Best is trusted by Chinese families for its unparalleled record in safe and secure logistics," said James O'Donnell, Bord Bia Asia director. Ireland's exports to China increased by 50pc last year reaching €367m. Exports to Hong Kong increased by 24pc to €180m. During the last three years, Bord Bia has brought more than 200 representatives of various high-level Asian food outlets to Ireland.
Abtran signs investment deal with Carlyle Cardinal Ireland Private equity fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland has finalised the terms of an investment in Abtran, a provider of customer and business process management services. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, it is understood to be the biggest investment by the fund in an Irish company to date. Abtran’s existing management team, including chief executive Michael Fitzgerald and chief operating officer Pat Ryan, will continue in their leadership roles and are investing further as shareholders in the business. Abtran, which is one of Ireland’s largest providers of customer and business process management services, employs more than 2,000 people in Cork and Dublin. The Cork-headquartered, Irish-owned firm announced 100 new jobs at its offices in the IFSC earlier this year. Abtran chief executive Michael Fitzgerald said the company is continuing its growth and development including major investments in facilities, technologies, skills and resources. “We are also growing our IFSC-based consulting and technology services division which forms an important part of our future. The CCI investment provides access to capital which will underpin a strategic and structured growth programme and will also ensure continuing long term career development opportunities for our people.” Carlyle Cardinal Ireland has also made investments in Tullamore-based Carroll Cuisine, Kildare-based chocolate manufacturer Lily O’Brien’s and Irish cash management solutions provider General Secure Logistics Services.
Electric Ireland reduces gas prices Electric Ireland said it would cut standard gas unit prices for residential customers and SMEs by 2.5pc from January 1st. The cut will save residential customers €20.22 on average per year. It follows the reduction in electricity prices in October and the second Electric Ireland price decrease in 2015 for residential consumers. A cumulative saving of on average €40 million has been made on the annual residential gas bill.
Haulier tax law change urged On October 21, the Court of Appeal ruled that a truck’s trailer is not a separate taxable unit, following a case between the Director of Public Prosecutions and Perennial Freight. Perennial had appealed against prosecution for ‘undertaxation’ of an articulated truck. However, while new rates are set to be introduced in January following October’s Budget, the Freight Transport Association of Ireland has called on Environment Minister Alan Kelly to inform tax offices across the country of the ruling and to change the amount charged for tax accordingly until then. A Department spokesman said it is “looking at a possible urgent legislative change to deal with this matter”. However, FTAI general manager Neil McDonnell said hundreds of his members’ trucks are due to renew their tax between now and the end of the year, and that confusion is widespread as hauliers are being charged the same rates as were levied prior to the court’s decision. “We were surprised to learn there was no contingency plan for a ruling against the Department. Members continue to advise us of confusion in local tax offices when they present their motor tax documentation. “For the sake of our members, and the staff in motor tax offices nationwide, we hope the department will clear this issue up quickly.” In his ruling on the case, Mr Justice Michael Peart said there is a need for the Oireachtas to address the uncertainty surrounding the matter. “If it is indeed the view of the Oireachtas that the owners of such tractors should pay an excise duty based on the weight of a trailer being hauled by the tractor, then new legislation will be required to make that intention clear and to put in place the necessary scheme so that what is required is clear,” Mr Justice Peart’s judgment read.
SuperValu overtakes Tesco as Ireland's largest grocery retailer SuperValu has passed Tesco to become the largest grocery retailer in Ireland. SuperValu reclaimed the top spot with a 24.6% market share according to the latest Kanter Worldpanel figures. Tesco was just behind with 24.1% while Dunnes Stores is third with 23.7% of the market. Aldi and Lidl claim 8.5% and 8.7% market share respectively - though Lidl's sales have increased by 11.2% year-on-year. Martin Kelleher, SuperValu managing director, said: "We are pleased to be recognised again as the largest grocery retailer in Ireland with 24.6% market share in the latest Kantar research and would like to thank customers for their loyalty. "It reflects the strength of our community retail model, where independent retailers in cities and towns across the country are clearly seen to give Irish shoppers what they want. "The market continues to be highly competitive and we remain focused on offering our customers the best combination of fresh quality food, commitment to Irish suppliers and value as we count down to Christmas Irish software research centre to expand with €46.4 million investment Lero, Science Foundation Ireland’s software research centre, is to receive an investment of €46.4 million over six years, allowing it to expand with the creation of 90 PhD and 46 post-doctoral research positions. SFI is funding €32.6 million of the investment, with support from the EU Structural Funds, while industry will contribute €13.8 million. Recruitment for the positions will begin immediately. Lero, which is located on the University of Limerick campus, will incorporate researchers from all the Irish universities as well as Dundalk Institute of Technology. The centre, which already works with industry partners like IBM and Microsoft, will also broaden its research from software engineering to areas including cyber security, the internet of things, cloud computing, medical devices and smart cities. “The collaboration of the best academic brains from all the country’s universities is unique in Ireland and rare worldwide,” Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan said at the formal launch. “This new investment in Lero is an important part of the national infrastructure that will help to attract and retain the world’s leading technology companies in Ireland as well as providing access to a world class software research centre for over 1,000 indigenous tech firms
Irish solar energy expansion could support 7,300 jobs The Irish solar industry could support 7,300 jobs and provide up to €800 million in new revenues for the state, according to a new report by KPMG. The report, which was commissioned by the Irish Solar Energy Association, found that the total price support for the technology from a government tariff could amount to roughly €670 million in the period to the end of 2030, equivalent to a less than one per cent increase in electricity prices. ISEA said that a massive drop in the costs of solar energy over the last several years meant that the technology could now be deployed in Ireland. The cost of the technology reduced by 80 per cent between 2008 and 2013. The KPMG report also found that solar energy would reduce Ireland’s dependency on imported fuels, while a quick deployment would mean that the technology could play a role in helping Ireland meet its binding 2020 renewable electricity target. Ireland must generate 40 per cent of its electricity from renewables by the end of the decade. The government is currently consulting on which technologies should be included in its future support schemes for renewable energy. KPMG partner and head of energy and natural resources Mike Hayes said that “there are a wide range of potential benefits to the Irish economy if a policy support scheme for solar energy was introduced. We know that for ever €1 of policy support, the solar industry in Ireland would deliver €3 of gross added value to the economy over the 2017-2030 period”. David Maguire, chairman of the Irish Solar Energy Association, said that the government could choose from a variety of support mechanisms for rooftop and ground mounted deployment.
Guide to the Knowledge Development Box Knowledge Development Box relief will commence in January 2016.
The Government announced that an Irish Knowledge Development Box (KDB) regime will be introduced in January, aimed at companies that perform research and development (R&D) activities. Such companies will be taxed on profits from their R&D efforts at an effective rate of 6.25%.
Qualifying Income Royalties for use of assets, and the attributable portion of income from the sale of services and products, serve as qualifying income. Companies must document the methods by which they track and ascribe income streams to the sale of products.
Included Expenditures R&D that is outsourced to unrelated parties qualifies, however, group outsourcing costs, such as costs for IP acquisition and cost-sharing agreements are excluded. Any expenditures that are incurred fully and exclusively in performing R&D activities, qualify. The law does allow some offset of non-qualifying expenditure by a specified amount, which is below 30% of the qualifying expenditure or the total paid to acquire IP and outsourced R&D from related companies. This welcome addition to Ireland's tax offerings, which comprise tax depreciation for intangible assets, the 25% tax refundable R&D tax credit system, and the 12.5% trading rate for businesses. The Knowledge Development Box is set to incentivise businesses in innovation intensive sectors.
Irish companies now have access to reduced corporation taxes on qualifying profits. In 2017, the first claims for 2016 will be made for the new Irish Knowledge Development Box (KDB) regime.
How will the Knowledge Development Box relief work? Starting on 1 January 2016, the Knowledge Development Box will provide a 50% tax deduction from all qualifying profits, thus resulting in a 6.25% effective tax rate. Assets such as patented and patent-pending inventions, including copyrighted software, supplementary certificates for plant protection products or medicinal products, apply.
6 Ways to Save â‚Ź1,000+ a year
on Insurance Alone We're always looking for ways to save, and the average Irish household can save in excess of â‚Ź1,000 on the typical insurance products they buy. Here are the top 6 ways you can do this. 1. Shop Around Most clients renew the same household insurance policy year after year. Loyalty to the bank you have been with for 12 years and where you hold your life assurance, savings account and mortgage, will not be taken into account when they calculate your renewable premium. It is recommended that clients use the annual renewal period as an opportunity to shop around for better rates and features. After all, there's no penalty for switching, and it's worth the time to see if there's a better provider on the market.
Not all deals are broadly advertised to all buyers, especially when it comes to health insurance. While some health insurance plans are aimed at corporate clients only, they are also available to any other consumer, and usually offer better value for money than the mainstream plans. Ask your broker to tell you about the corporate version of your plan.
5. Ask for Discounts
2. Pay That Excess The bane of most insurance clients, some policies require an excess to be paid by you before you can claim back from your insurance. Although a contentious issue, it is recommended that you agree to pay a small excess, it will reduce your monthly premium. However, you should only agree to this if the excess will be affordable. If you have to pay a massive excess before you can claim, it may not be worth it. The key is to ensure that it won't end up costing you more in the end, for the small benefit of reduced premiums and instant gratification.
3. Think Before You Buy Your purchasing decisions play a significant role in the cost of your premiums. Car insurance costs are calculated by the variations in cost of replacement from various manufacturers, and the cost of engines. Consider insurance and taxes before you buy a new car, and remember that your premium will be reduced if you have a full licence. In terms of life assurance, healthy lifestyle choices will reduce your premiums significantly. Taking up exercise and quitting smoking can save you more than 50%.
4. Grab Available Deals
As life insurers compete with one another, they are often willing to provide discounts in order to retain existing clients or appeal to potential clients from their target audience. Most insurers will happily match prices, especially if you have more than one policy with the company, or if you ask.
6. Get the Right Amount of Insurance Over- or under-insuring can cost you, with any type of insurance. When it comes to life insurance, you need to consider how much money your family will need to maintain their existing standard of living in the event of your untimely death. Consider inflation, too. As for home insurance, you should insure for the rebuilding cost of your home, rather than the value of the building. Building costs are rising, so it would pay to re-evaluate this. Re-evaluate your contents insurance regularly too, in order to ensure that your valuables carry adequate insurance. Also remember that you may have to specifically add some items to the policy. Although not an insurance, it is important that you obtain good advice on pensions as pension saving in an extremely tax-efficient way of making savings.
Fitzgerald pledges Legal Services Bill by Christmas Legislation to bring about the biggest change to the legal services sector since the foundation of the State will be enacted before the Dáil rises for Christmas, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Frances Fitzgerald, has said. She was commenting at the publication of more than 100 amendments to the Legal Services Regulation Bill, which was first published in 2011. The amendments were approved by Cabinet in mid November and are to tabled in the Seanad as part of the committee stage of the Bill. Among the changes are provisions to allow lawyers to work in limited liability partnerships, something the Law Society has been pressing for since 2011. The society’s director general Ken Murphy welcomed the change, describing it as a “giant step in the modernising of business models for solicitors’ firms in this jurisdiction”. As matters stand, partners are personally responsible for debts over and above the assets owned by the partnership. Ms Fitzgerald said it was the Government’s intention that the Bill would be enacted before the Dáil rises for the Christmas recess so the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority would be up and running early in 2016. The establishment of the authority as an independent regulator is a key element of the Bill and the amendments include measures to strengthen its powers. The Minister also said the proposed legislation would promote competition and help to reduce legal costs. Among the proposed measures is a provision that would facilitate the 100-plus barristers who are not members of the Bar Council in establishing their own representative body. The Bill will allow for partnerships where barristers can start up business either with other barristers or solicitors. The Cabinet was told that the Attorney General, Máire Whelan SC, advised that the Bar Council would take a constitutional case against a proposed section of the Bill prohibiting the Council from prohibiting members from providing legal services through a legal partnership or other new business model. In order to avoid a lengthy constitutional case, the Minister decided to drop the proposal and instead provide that barristers and solicitors can join new business models, and also provide that professional bodies may not prevent or restrict their members from doing business with or through the new proposed business structures. At this stage the government does not intend to provide for the establishment of multi-disciplinary practices. The new authority is to handle all complaints about all legal practitioners up to and including prosecution and will supervise the continued operation by the Law Society of its statutory functions relating to the Solicitors Compensation Fund and financial and accounts-related oversight of solicitors.
Legislation cutting bankruptcy term to one year imminent Legislation to reduce the bankruptcy term from three years to one year will be in place by the end of the Dáil term, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said. Mr Kenny told the Dáil the Government has accepted the need to reduce the term from the recently introduced three years to one year. He said Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald would be bringing legislation to Cabinet shortly. The move had been championed by Labour Longford-Westmeath TD Willie Penrose, and was backed by the Labour parliamentary party. However, it was opposed by the Department of Finance and did not feature in the Government’s mortgage arrears package earlier this year. Mr Penrose said: “This is critical. The current situation where it is three years’ bankruptcy here and one year north of the Border is impractical”. When adopted, this would bring Irish bankruptcy law into line with laws in the UK.
On-pitch alcohol advertising to be banned under new law On-pitch advertising for alcohol brands is to be banned as part of the Government’s upcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. It will prove the first concrete move taken by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar in a bid to reduce the profile of alcohol brands in major sporting events, and the bill is expected to make its way to Cabinet shortly following a series of delays. The issue of alcohol advertising in sport has been a contentious one, with repeated suggestions from campaign groups that such a ban should be enacted in line with other European countries such as France and Norway. Some will be unhappy that the proposed prohibition will not extend to pitchside or shirt advertisements, and will only apply to logos which are emblazoned on sports fields for televised matches. That element of the Bill will be introduced as part of a suite of measures that will see a broadcast watershed for television and radio advertising of alcohol products, labels warning of the adverse health effects of problem drinking on cans and bottles, and the long-expected imposition of minimum pricing for alcoholic beverages. Speaking earlier this year, the Minister was insistent that there was “no evidence” that a ban on sports sponsorship by drinks companies would help tackle excessive drinking among young people. It is not known what prompted the policy shift prior to the Bill’s publication later this year. The Government has already engaged in an extended period of consultations with relevant stakeholders in the drinks industry, clinicians and groups who are calling for tougher measures to be introduced to combat binge-drinking and alcoholism. Treatment for alcohol-related illnesses costs the State billions of euro according to latest statistics from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and alcohol is directly attributable for the deaths of over 1,000 people in Ireland every year.
Landlords warned not to raise rents ahead of new law Landlords have been warned by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) not to try to increase rents in advance of legislation that will fix rents for two years, if they have previously done so in the last 12 months. The PRTB said: “A landlord (or receiver) can only increase the rent once in any 12-month period, and cannot increase within 12 months of the commencement of the tenancy.” “If a landlord intends increasing the rent, they must inform the tenant, in writing, of any increase in rent, 28 days before the increase is due to take effect,” said the agency, adding that it wanted to bring the law “to the attention” of landlords. The proposal to only allow residential rent increases every two years will take effect before the end of the year, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said. He and Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly will bring the measure, part of their housing package, to Cabinet. Amid concerns that landlords may increase rents before the changes take effect, Mr Noonan said the measures would “kick in immediately” as a “November initiative”. He also highlighted the “sunset clause”, which will see rent reviews return to the current 12-month norm within four years. Landlords must give 28 days’ notice of a rent increase and it is expected the proposals can be stitched in to existing legislation before the Seanad and passed shortly. Other measures to increase tenant protection, such as extending the notice period for a rent increase, are also expected to be included in the overall package. A measure to abolish development levies for homes sold for less than €300,000 in certain areas will only apply for three years before vacant sites are subject to a charge, to discourage land speculation. The move is designed to speed up house building in areas with acute shortages. Sources said development levies on homes valued at €300,000 in Dublin and Cork will be abolished for only three years and that a vacant-site levy will then encourage builders to use sites. The development levy changes will take effect from January at the latest. However, there is an expiry date of 2019 on this initiative, the same date the previously announced vacant-site levy will take effect. Vacant sites will be subject to a charge of 3 per cent of market value. “The change in planning guidelines is expected to knock €20,000 off the cost of building the average new apartment,” a source said. “Suspension of development contributions will reduce building costs by a further €6,000 to €8,000, on top of savings from reduced development contributions and Part V costs already legislated for.”
Department of Justice finalising Family Courts proposals Legislation to establish new Family Courts as divisions of Ireland’s existing District, Circuit and High Court structures will be introduced before the general election, the Department of Justice has indicated.Government Minister Kevin Humphreys said the Department is “currently finalising proposals for future legislation” based on “ongoing consultations with interested parties”. Mr Humphreys reaffirmed the Government’s position that a referendum is not necessary in order to establish the proposed Family Courts, and outlined their principle features. He explained: “A District Family Court, a Circuit Family Court and a Family High Court will be established as divisions of the existing District, Circuit and High Court structures. New District Family Court districts and new Circuit Family Court circuits will be established for this purpose. “It is envisaged that judges will be appointed fulltime to the District Family Court and the Circuit Family Court. In the case of the Family High Court, it is anticipated that there would not be sufficient case loads to warrant the appointment of judges full time to family law matters. Therefore judges of the Family High Court will also be able to hear other cases. “The judges appointed to the Family Courts will be selected on the basis of their training or experience in dealing with family law matters.” The new legislation will include a set of guiding principles underlining the importance of alternative resolution methods such as mediation, which provide an opportunity for a “less adversarial, less stressful and less costly” resolution of disputes. Mr Humphreys added: “The Minister intends to bring the proposals to establish the new Family Court to Government as soon as they are finalised.”
Legislation to underpin use of new roadside drug testing machines Gardaí will be equipped with new drug testing machines next year in a bid to crack down on drug driving, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has said. Mr Donohoe said new legislation will be introduced before next year’s general election to underpin the use of new roadside testing devices, while sanctions for getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs will also be toughened. Around 150 new testing machines have been ordered by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety and will be handed over to An Garda Síochána next year. The machines can be used for roadside tests where a swab of saliva is taken from a driver’s cheek and analysed for various substances. Mr Donohoe said: “I have learned from my time as Minister for Transport that if the legal foundations in relation to road traffic legislation are not as robust as possible, it leads to challenges in court and it leads to problems with the implementation of road traffic law. “And it is for that reason that we will have new primary legislation in place to underpin the use of these new devices.” Earlier this year, Mr Donohoe was forced to introduce emergency legislation underpinning the use of roadside testing for drink driving after the High Court ruled that statements issued by the Evidenzer machines in Garda stations were not legally valid.
Court review of rejected personal insolvency proposals introduced The remaining provisions of the Personal Insolvency (Amendment) Act 2015 come into force in mid November, including the new court review where a mortgage lender rejects the borrower’s personal insolvency proposal. Under the new law, a borrower can apply for review by the courts if creditors such as the mortgage lender refuse the borrower’s proposal for a Personal Insolvency Arrangement to deal with unsustainable debts which include the mortgage on their home. The court can examine the proposal refused by the creditors, subject to certain conditions, and if it considers the proposal fair and sustain- able, using the tests set down in the legislation, will have power to impose the proposal on the creditors who voted against it. Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald said: “The Courts’ new power to review a Personal Insolvency proposal rejected by creditors is a very significant milestone in the development of Ireland’s insolvency regime. It’s an important reform to protect mortgage holders in distress, and is a key element of the Government’s Action Framework to strengthen support for those in mortgage arrears, which we announced on 13 May.” She added: “From this Friday, for the first time, a borrower who is trying to engage with resolving their debts will not have reached the end of the road if creditors vote against their insolvency proposal. “The new Court review introduces an independent oversight mechanism to ensure that the right balance is struck between the interests of mortgage lenders and other creditors, and the interests of borrowers who want to work their way out of debt sustainably with a view to keeping their homes. It will make sure that this balance is fair, and is seen to be fair.” The Government is hoping to see a substantial increase in the overall number of Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIAs) reached under the personal insolvency legislation.
Following on from the successful roll out of our Kerry operation, Manning Financial is seeking partners in other cities and provincial towns. Manning Financial is a team of expert financial advisers headquartered in Cork. If you know any one in your professional network that may be a suitable candidate, please feel free to forward to them.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CLICK PLAY ON THE VIDEO BELOW
Candidates should be: QFAs or working towards obtaining the qualification Self-starter and motivated Willing to undertake a training course Candidates should also have an extensive network of contacts Links with accountancy practices preferable
If you want to concentrate on what you do best - 'advising and doing businessâ€™ and not worry about administration and compliance, then Manning Financial Partnership is for you.
If you would like to discuss this opportunity please contact breon on
Taking Your Retirement Into Your Own Hands Take control of your retirement by doing your homework in the months leading up to your claim. The early months of retirement are often far from what the brochures portray. Instead of long walks on the beach and travelling to sunnier climates, it can be a frustrating period of tracking down your old pensions, applying for a State pension, and getting your lump sum. Here are some tips for making this process as smooth as possible.
1. Know Your PRSI Record
If you have a private pension, be sure that you understand how it works, and the type of payouts you can expect, especially if you hope to supplement your state pension with this. Speak to your pension provider or your broker about your private pension.
4. Find Long Lost Pensions Did you perhaps take out a pension many years ago to which you have stopped contributing? Perhaps you took it out when working with a different employer. Track down the pensions’ administrator and find out the value of the pension. If you can't find the adminis trator, contact the Pensions Authority, or track down past colleagues who may be able to assist you. Be sure to update your current and future contact details with your employer or the pensions’ administrator to ensure that you don't lose out on your pension.
5. Take Advantage of Perks
Do you know whether you're entitled to the full contributory State pension? Your PRSI record breaks down your social insurance contributions to determine whether you are entitled to a full contributory State pension. Check your PRSI record in the weeks leading up to your retirement so that you know where you stand and be financially prepared.
2. Apply for Your State Pension
The State offers a free travel scheme which entitles people over the age of 66 to travel for free on most types of State public transport services. If you receive a social welfare pension, you should get your travel card automatically, provided you have registered for a public services card. Apply for the card from your local Intreo centre or Social Welfare offices.
6. Understand Your Taxes -
In order to apply for a state pension, you must complete the appropriate state pension application form (contributory or non-contributory) based on your entitlements. The application forms are available from your nearest Social Welfare or Post office. Apply for your state pension 3 months before your 66th birthday.
3. Read the Fine Print Retirees are responsible for their own tax affairs, and it is important to note that your State pension may be taxable, although this is unlikely if your pension is your only source of income. However, if you have income from other pensions, there may be tax implications which you should discuss with your advisor beforehand. When planning your will, consider the implications of Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax. From the age of 65, you are entitled to a number of tax breaks. You won't have to pay tax on the interest you earned on savings, unless your gross income exceeds €18,000 (single person) or €36,000 for
married couples. You may be exempted from income tax, provided you earn below the prescribed limit, and you may be entitled to additional credits that should help reduce your tax bill, once you reach the age of 65.
7. Opt for the Best Lump Sum Individuals with private pensions are entitled to lump sum pension payouts on retirement, however, the amount will vary based on the scheme and its monetary value. It would be prudent to find out how big a lump sum you can expect. If you have a defined contribution scheme, your lump sum will equal either 25% of your pension fund, or one-and-a-half times your salary.
The first thing you need to know, is how to access the money you're entitled to, and what you want to do with it. Investing your lump sum, if you can, is a very wise decision. Consider your investment options, based on the amount of risk you're prepared to take, and when you will likely need to access the funds. Defined contribution schemes enable you to convert money remaining in your pension fund after the lump sum has been taken out, into an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) or annuity, which provides financial certainty during retirement.
9. Be Savvy
If you have a defined benefit scheme, on the other hand, your lump sum amount will depend on the service and your salary. It may be up to one-and-a-half times your final remuneration. Speak to your pensions’ administrator if you have a defined benefit, and ensure that they calculate the lump sum based on the highest possible final remuneration figure, as a small discrepancy can make a significant difference. Regardless of the type of pension you own, the first €200,000 of your lump sum is tax-free.
8. Decide How to Use Your Lump Sum
If you have a defined benefit pension, stay clear of any offers that suggest exchanging part of your annual pension income for a lump sum. These schemes offer an unfavourable pension income to lump sum exchange rate.
10. Plan in Advance Don't wait until a month before retirement to plan for your golden years. The latest time to start is a year ahead of retirement in order to have the opportunity to increase your savings amount in the final year of working. This will increase your pension pot.
SBCI introduces €25m fleet finance fund for SMEs The State-backed Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has announced a new €25 million fleet finance fund for small and medium-sized businesses. The new fleet finance fund provides specialist contract hire facilities with terms of 3 to 4 years for SMEs. Its facilities include fleet management services and it features a guaranteed buy-back of assets at the end of the term. The offering is aimed at SMEs who want to buy new vehicles or upgrade their existing fleet without the high maintenance costs associated with ownership. Overall, the SBCI is to provide a minimum of €800 million in low-cost funding to Irish SMEs. SBCI said that in its first seven months of operation, some 3,200 Irish SMEs had received close to €110 million in funding.
In The Spotlight Ciara Judge is a seventeen-year-old scientist and entrepreneur from Kinsale, Co Cork. Over the past three years she has won the BT Young Scientist, the EU Young Scientist and the Google Science Fair with her teammates Emer and Sophie for their research on the work of rhizobium with cereal crops. In September of 2014 Time Magazine named her as being one of the 25 most influential teens worldwide. She is now codirector of her first company, Germinaid Innovations, with Emer Hickey. This summer she attended a business course in MIT where she established and is now CEO of PurchaseMate. For more information, please see Ciara’s website www.ciarajudge.com
Q. WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
A. At present I’m working on three projects. In April this year I founded an agricultural research company called Germinaid Innovations with my friend and research partner Emer Hickey. Over this summer I also founded the company PurchaseMate, an app for the socially conscious shopper, with a team from America in MIT, which is currently in preliminary beta in the App Store. I also am working on an initiative called Project Zilkr with a global team which launched a few weeks ago at WebSummit. Project Zilkr is an online platform for young people who want to become entrepreneurs, providing resources, mentorship and microfunding as part of a 10 step curriculum. Q. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
A. I find that I am truly motivated by a passion for innovation. I love to get involved in all aspects of the idea formation and maker process and have found that inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places. I love getting ideas from everyday occurrences and jumping on them to see where they take me! Q. WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN? AND WHO GAVE YOU THIS ADVICE?
A. I have received a lot of advice over the past few years so picking out a most valuable piece is quite difficult. One piece of advice that has stuck with me is ‘don’t ask, don’t get,’ which I learned from Paddy Cosgrave about 3 years ago. This really has stuck with me as I have grown up, and have learned to take risks because you never know unless you try. Q. WHO IS YOUR HERO?
A. I guess I really look up to successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson. They are fantastic examples of people who saw opportunities and took them by the horns. Also the corporate social responsibility records of their enterprises are really good which is something to be admired. Q. IN IRELAND, WHOSE CAREER DO YOU ADMIRE THE MOST?
A. Without a doubt I’d have to say Bono. When you study him carefully it doesn’t take long to realise that the man is a genius. His well-timed investments in Yelp, Facebook and Forbes have proved highly lucrative, and as a budding musician I love how he actually started out as a singer and has now made the transition to activism and investment. Q. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
A. Wow that’s a difficult question! I don’t really define myself by my achievements, so this is really hard to answer. I’ve been really fortunate in that I have been lucky to have been recognised for hard work in science etc, but for me I’m just happy that I’m still a normal teenager.
Q. WHAT DO YOU REGARD AS THE GREATEST SCIENTIFIC INVENTION? A. Probably electricity. I mean, the world runs on electricity, it makes up the roots, the beginnings of innovation. Electricity facilitates communication both on a local and global scale, and communication is essential for progress. Q. WHO HAS HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE TO DATE?
A. Definitely my family. We are the product of our environment and for me, I grew up in a family that promoted curiosity and innovation. My family have supported me every step of the way throughout the journey I have been on in the last 3 years and I could not have done it without them. Q. YOU HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN MANY GLOBAL EVENTS IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, WHICH EVENT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE? AND WHY?
A. I’d have to say WeDay UK last March. I spoke in Wembley Arena to an audience of more than 12,000 students, gracing the stage with Richard Branson and it was fantastic. The atmosphere was unforgettable. I also had the pleasure of meeting many big names backstage including Martin Sheen and Princess Beatrice. It was a huge honour. Q. WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL?
A. Honestly my ultimate goal is quite simple: I want to make a positive difference in the world, in such a visible way that others will be inspired to do so too.
Ireland among best environments for SMEs Ireland provides one of the friendliest environments for small businesses, a new report from the European Commission has shown, with the country ranking among the top EU countries for giving honest entrepreneurs a second chance. The country also came top in internationalisation, which looks at small and medium sized businesses importing and exporting from Ireland. But the Small Business Act (SBA) Factsheet for 2015 also warned that access to finance was still a problem, despite improvements in recent years, and recommended the introduction of a systematic “think small first” policy. SMEs account for more than 99 per cent of enterprises in Ireland. The report was welcomed by Minister for Business and Employment Gerald Nash. “But, we won’t be resting on our laurels ,” he said. “We are already examining the areas where the commission have suggested we need to do more work, such as access to finance and prompt payment and procurement.” The report follows the publication of the Global Entrepreneurship Development Index, in Ireland’s global ranking rose to 12th from 17th, and the country now stands at seventh place among EU countries.
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 his 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 joined Manning Financial in 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Real Estate and a Certificate in Property Management and Valuations. Jean intends to follow in her brother Breon’s footsteps and become a Qualified Financial Advisor. When Jean isn’t running the day to day office, she enjoys Spinning, TRX and Kettlebells. She also has a secret love for watching Darts!
Patricia is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the company's offline and online marketing strategies. Patricia graduated with a PhD in Education from UCC and also holds an MSC inFood Business, a BBS in Marketing and a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing. She is also a member of the Marketing Institute. She. is a volunteer adult literacy tutor and enjoys reading, travelling and supports Manchester Utd.
Molly O' Shea Marketing Intern Molly assists in all marketing activities at Manning Financial. A born and raised San Franciscan, Molly moved to Cork last January. She attended college in New York where she played NCAA Division 1 Volleyball for five 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.
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