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Business Briefs Bank warning on investment firms

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

It is a criminal offense for an investment firm to operate in Ireland unless it has authorization from the central bank. However, in cases where a foreign firm operates in Ireland without a physical presence, it is "extremely difficult" to enforce criminal law penalties, according to the central bank. Therefore, the bank has obtained an amendment to the law that allows it to place a notice in the national newspapers when it believes that an authorized investment firm is operating in Ireland.

The central bank has now issued warning notices in respect of the following 13 firms: Investment Program Management; Dow Templeton & Associates; Tasin & Co. Inc.; Ametron Consultants Ltd.; Globe Capital Group; W.H. Carrington; Pryce Weston Incorporated; Whale Securities; Quantum Financial Group; CSF Trust SA; First Federal Capital, Inc.; Morgan Vanderbilt; and United Global Partners.

The bank receives details of such companies usually by way of complaints from members of the public. To check about an investment firm in Ireland, call the central bank at 011-353-1-671-6666, ext. 4490.

The central bank also points out that representatives of investment firms, authorized or not, should not cold-call members of the public in Ireland. The bank maintains registers detailing all investment business firms authorized to provide services in Ireland, including those authorized in another European Union state to provide investment services on a cross-border basis.

Private wealth

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Wealthy private investors poured more than £461 million into commercial property in Dublin last year, according to the Sunday Business Post. The newspaper added that institutions, which up to a few years ago were the main buyers of commercial investments, have been pushed firmly into second place by wealthy individuals, among them lawyers, accountants, information technology professionals and builders.

Jobs, jobs . . .

In County Antrim, Michelin is on a roll.

The world’s leading tire manufacturer has made a $19 million strategic investment in its Ballymena plant to increase production of truck tires to North America and enable the company meet increasingly competitive global market requirements.

British Northern Ireland Secretary of State Mo Mowlam said the project has already reached its target of 115 jobs, bringing total employment in the Ballymena factory to about 1,350 people.

Mowlam said that Michelin was concentrating its export-production for the North American market in one plant. "It brings the total investment by Michelin in Ballymena during the last 10 years to almost $140 million."

Founded in 1889, Michelin has been producing tires in Ballymena since 1969.

In Belfast, talks have been continuing between management and investors in an effort to save more than 200 jobs at Mackies engineering plant in West Belfast.

In Larne, Co. Antrim, F.G. Wilson (Engineering) Ltd. has announced that 400 employees are to be let go.

In Carrickfergus, 80 jobs are to go at the cosmetics plant Nectar Ltd.

Meanwhile, in the Republic, up to 500 jobs are expected to be lost in the much-vaunted software industry. It is feared that about 400 temporary employees will lose their jobs with Apple Computers in Hollyhill, Co. Cork. Another 100 permanent staff may be offered redundancy.

The cause of the layoffs is Apple’s decision to outsource production of its new iMac computer to other producers, possible to South Korean conglomerate L.G. group, which has plants in low-cost locations such as Mexico. L.G. also has a plant in Wales.

Last January, Apple closed its Claris subsidiary in Dublin with the loss of 125 jobs.

In Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, there are fears for 140 jobs at C.M. Offray because of competition from the Far East.

Faith and fatherland

Religion may save the soul, but it also generates revenue. Enterprise Ireland, the Irish agency charged with promoting Irish trade, has been working with retail organizations in the U.S. to identify opportunities and advise Irish companies on how to promote their products in the lucrative $5.2 billion American market for religious goods.

Enterprise Ireland estimates that this relatively new specialist market for Irish suppliers has a huge potential for dozens of jewelry and giftware manufacturers. Products made by some of Ireland’s leading religious giftware companies are becoming increasing available in the U.S. Popular gifts include Celtic crosses, Christmas ornaments, rosaries, statues, figurines, wedding giftware, greeting cards, music CDs and videos.

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