THE truly remarkable thing about the collapse of Bloxham, Ireland's third-largest stockbroker, is that, with Dublin share dealing having fallen by almost five-sixths from its 2007 peak, a major player hadn't bitten the dust sooner.
In 2007, Irish brokers traded a massive €199bn of equities for their clients. By 2011, this had shrunk to less than €36bn -- an 82 per cent fall in the space of just four years. In this period, the banks -- traditionally being the main source of share trading volume on the Irish market -- virtually disappeared. At the same time, the value of non-financial shares fell by over 40 per cent.
Many of Ireland's leading companies have fled the Irish market with CRH, the largest Irish industrial, transferring its main listing to London, and Aryzta (formerly IAWS) moving its main listing to Switzerland.
The Irish Stock Exchange is rapidly running out of time. With no end in sight to the twin Irish fiscal and banking crises, investors and companies are fleeing. While Bloxham may have been the first major player to succumb, it won't be the last. Will there even be a stand-alone Irish equity market in five years' time? The omens are not good.