On 14th September we hosted our annual Autumn Investor Evening, which was masterfully compèred by broadcaster and Sunday Business Post Markets Editor, Ian Guider. We were honoured to have some great speakers on board.
Our Chief Investment Officer, David Beaton, gave a concise overview of global markets, a round-up of macro political events and predictions on currencies and indices into year-end. Next up was Dave O’Flanagan, CEO of Boxever, a fast-growing Irish technology start-up used by some of the world’s leading airlines. Dave gave us an insight into Boxever’s customer intelligence software which is revolutionising the customer experience within the airline industry and now moving into financial services.
Kevin Nowlan CEO of Hibernia REIT talked about the company’s beginnings and their focus on the development and refurbishment of Dublin offices. He then turned to the broader Irish property market, difficulties with the lack of residential property and the opportunities he sees within the commercial sector.
Finally Bernard Byrne, AIB CEO, gave an uplifting take on the Irish economy. Rather than reviewing the recent highly successful float, Byrne talked about his experience during some of the bank’s 1,400 investor meetings. During the six month roadshow he met with UK, US, European and Asian investors. Many institutional investors viewed a stake in AIB as a leveraged play on Ireland. For many, the primary reason for the investment was the growing strength of the Irish economy, and an investment in AIB gave shareholders access to that.
Byrne believes we are at a positive stage in the cycle with further potential to grow, but with some risks:
- The inability of the political system to focus, develop and implement any cohesive policy. For Byrne, it is up to the business community to get involved in the debate and highlight what is important.
- The failure to plan and deliver infrastructure. It is not possible for all parts of the country and all sectors of the economy to do equally well at the same time. Policy has to direct deliverable transport, business and housing objectives.
- Tax policy for individuals is a deterrent for foreign firms setting up and domestic companies looking to grow here. We need to create a business supportive environment to encourage employment and inward direct investment.
Byrne challenged us to look at Ireland’s softer economic data and closed by giving us “reasons to be cheerful” about the economy. These are the key reasons International investors are interested in Ireland:
- Our young demographic is the envy of the developed world – we are a growing economy with net immigration. This is one of our best assets.
- Our culture is a distinct advantage – following Brexit we will be the only common law, English speaking jurisdiction in Europe, making Ireland a very attractive destination for long term foreign direct investment.
- Housing is rightly a concern and viewed as a constraint by many. It should however be seen as an engine for growth that is yet to be fired. One that shouldn’t be strangled but encouraged.
While there are undoubtedly improvements that need to be made, Bernard ultimately pointed to the potential for further growth and success to be cultivated within our economy.
To speak with a Portfolio Manager or Account Executive, phone the Cantor Fitzgerald dealing desk on 01 633 3633.
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