Artificial Intelligence – the investment opportunities

The possibilities of Artificial Intelligence [AI] were underscored in 2015 when Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo programme triumphed over the reigning world champion in Go, a profoundly complex Chinese board game. In 2017, a newer programme, AlphaGo Zero, beat the original AlphaGo, 100 times to nil. Information technology now allows the gathering, […]

What are the political risks for investors in 2018?

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and a newly emboldened Russia shows us the world is an unsettled place but financial markets seem to be calm. Most of the recent gains in markets have happened despite possible Russian interference in the US Presidential election; North Korean missile launches […]

Shopping online and retail’s pain

More people are shopping online because it is easier and more convenient. It makes for a more competitive and fast-moving battleground for retailers and increases disruption among real estate markets. The move to online shopping has a negative effect on our high streets but is having a positive effect on industrial buildings […]

Life Insurance – Perception v Reality of claims paid

Last year, Irish Life Assurance, Ireland’s largest life insurer, commissioned a study of life insurance perceptions in Ireland. The study was conducted by Coyne Research in December 2017 and the results are based on a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults. The most surprising finding, from Irish Life’s perspective was that […]

Investors, don’t forget the KIDs

As part of the standardisation of the format of information being given to retail investors across the EU single market, new regulations were introduced on 3 January 2018. The aim of the Regulations is to create a uniform, easy to understand “Key Information Document” (KID) which facilitates comparison between different […]

What does the end of easy money mean for investors?

10 years after the global financial crisis (GFC) threatened a return to the Great Depression of the 1930s, the global economy is finally on the mend. It is anticipated growth should approach 4% in 2018, the strongest growth since 2011 as the economic recovery gains strength around the world. That means the […]

What is the Serious Fraud Office?

The UK Serious Fraud Office [SFO] was set up in 1988 charged with investigating and prosecuting corruption and high-level corporate crime. For much of its life, it has been variously, incompetent, underfunded and neutered by political pressure. In 2012, the SFO botched the investigation of Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz—London-based tycoons […]

Can global central banks unwind quantitative easing safely?

Central banks face a huge challenge in successfully weaning the world off ultra-accommodative monetary policy and reducing the sizes of their balance sheets. Their actions helped calm the waters during the storm that was the Great Financial Crisis 2008/2009 [GFC].  Initially they cut interest rates dramatically, to below zero eventually in some […]

Why is passive investing overtaking active?

Historically, our investment decisions have been entrusted to a stock picker or active investment manager. For several decades, active management has been losing ground to the passive investing approach – funds which invest in an index to cover an entire market. Not only does this approach offer diversification, the rise of […]

Pension auto-enrolment – does it work?

Last September, in a speech to the employer’s group IBEC, Leo Varadkar announced the centrepiece of the upcoming national pension plan – auto-enrolment. He told the audience that two-thirds of private sector workers in Ireland have no pension and warned that the time bomb must be addressed now. In the […]