We were delighted to host our 4th annual investor evening at the InterContinental Hotel with a fantastic line up of speakers, including Ian Guider as MC. The event opened with CEO Ronan Reid welcoming guests including our new colleagues and clients from Merrion following the recent takeover.
Our own David Beaton provided an overview of the global economy and the impact on markets. David always brings common sense and a level head to the sometimes irrational markets. His experience as CIO brings much needed clarity during turbulent times and he shared his cautious optimism for the near future.
Serial entrepreneur David Raethorne talked clients through his experience of building a whiskey business and showcased his latest venture: Lough Gill Distillery. He shared details on the ups and downs of developing a whiskey distillery, building up an experienced team and growing a niche brand. The distillery is based in the majestic setting of Hazelwood, an 81-acre estate on the banks of Lough Gill in Co Sligo and Cantor Fitzgerald is delighted to be involved in the second EIIS fundraise for the distillery.
Aidan Gavin, Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield gave a broad brush overview of the Dublin commercial property market. While the tech sector is driving the current take-up, Cushman & Wakefield have received a steady trickle of enquiries from UK based companies examining their Brexit options. The South Dock in Dublin is now fully let while the North Dock has approximately 14 months’ supply. Aidan sees constraints in the Dublin office market from 2020. The other growth sector is in the private residential rental sector which has grown by 13% in 2018.
The always entertaining David McWilliams bounded onto the stage with a book of Yeats poetry and fresh ideas. He pointed out that we always believe that the period we are living through is somehow unique, however history shows that we can survive and endure even the darkest times. While there is clearly room for improvement, David talked through some of the amazing things our economy has achieved over the last 35 year. China, India, South Korea and Indonesia are the only countries in the world that have grown faster over that timeframe. As David put it “perfect belies pretty good”.
David turned his attention to property. In his view land is a cost and Ireland should introduce a site value tax – an idea that has been floated before and one that may have some traction. This would shift the incentives for developers, cut down on land hoarding and encourage development in both the residential and commercial space. Without addressing the cost of housing and rent it will continue to be an issue, leading to a generation potentially being priced out of the housing sector.
Next on the roster of fresh thoughts was a novel spin on multinational tax. David declared that the multinationals were an extraordinary gift but that it is time for Ireland to reimagine and renegotiate our relationship with them. Much like the Norwegians viewed their discovery of oil in the 1950s, we should view the multinationals as a resource, as a source of wealth rather than income, meaning the tax revenue becomes wealth rather than income. We could then split the annual tax bill whereby the multinationals pay part in tax and the remainder in stock. It’s the kind of deal where both sides win. That stock should then be used to set up a sovereign wealth fund that would grow quickly, to be used for the benefit of the Irish people and future generations.
David is clearly an optimist, evident through his thoughts on Brexit. He believes that Brexit could be viewed as a fantastic opportunity for Ireland as numerous companies abandon post-Brexit UK in favour of Ireland. Ireland is just a link in the global supply chain the same as the UK, with the UK out Ireland is a natural alternative. It would take political will and strategic leadership, but in his view the UK’s loss could be a boon for Ireland Inc.
Ireland has grown faster than any western country over the last 35 years and that could continue – it’s there for the taking. There are challenges but enormous opportunities if we are prepared to seize the day.
To speak with a Portfolio Manager or Account Executive, please phone the Cantor Fitzgerald dealing desk on 01 633 3633,