Business Irish

Wednesday 17 September 2014

TH€ PUNT: Gill working with old friends

Published 11/05/2013 | 05:00

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Ever since Bloxham Stockbrokers collapsed in May last year under the weight of nearly €14m in liabilities, its former director of research, Joe Gill, has been dipping his toes into various endeavours.

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He's been a regular pundit in various newspapers and also worked as a consultant to Ryanair when it launched its latest takeover bid for Aer Lingus last year.

Bloxham was the country's oldest stockbroker and the third-biggest at the time of its demise on foot of accounting irregularities which saw its financial partner, Tadgh Gunnell, immediately suspended when the problems were brought to light.

But it was too late to save the firm and a liquidator was appointed a week later.

A number of former Bloxham staff moved to bigger rival Goodbody Stockbrokers and Dolmen after Davy Stockbrokers inked a deal to buy Bloxham's private client business and asset management activities.

But Gill – highly respected in stockbroking circles – had been largely busy ploughing his own furrow.

But The Punt hears from Gill himself that he began work this week with Goodbody in a full-time position in corporate broking.

He's rejoining the firm, having worked there previously between 2002 and 2008 as head of research and working on special projects.

He'll be no longer involved in the research side of the business, but says he's excited about the new role and looking forward to the challenge.

He's liaising with some of Goodbody's existing corporate clients and will also be scouting for new opportunities for the firm.

Silver lining in every cloud

From the rubble of broken companies, one sector has emerged triumphant: the restructuring business.

Someone has to pick up the pieces of the economic downturn, and Irish recovery company Friel Stafford is among those capitalising on the boom time for the business.

Led by chartered accounted Jim Stafford, the firm has formed an alliance with FRP Advisory, a large UK restructuring company, to provide advice on cross-border corporate and personal insolvency issues.

Issues are no doubt driven by the fact that a huge chunk of indebted Irish people pop across the Border or the pond to avail of the UK's more lenient bankruptcy laws.

And despite the protestations of our banks that the worst is over, we should be in no doubt that restructuring will be providing big business for many years.

"Both the UK and Ireland are still at the relatively early stages of restructuring many often complex corporate and personal investment vehicles," says FRP Advisory's Geoff Rowley.

Fellow partner Charles Turner says they anticipate that contentious issues to do with ownership and location of assets "will only intensify". The best, it seems, is yet to come.

A little too quick on the draw

JOURNALISM can be a tough gig at times. Secretive meetings gathering information on powerful figures, breaking stories on corruption at the heart of government ... well actually there's a lot of meat and potatoes items that need to be got through.

The government economic data published at 9am, the Central Bank figures released at 10am and other such things.

Traditionally hacks writing for daily papers could spend their day honing these stories for the next day's paper. Those days are long gone of course, but for wire agencies, such as Reuters and Bloomberg, it has always been about being first with the news seconds after it is released.

Governments and regulators are usually happy to give the news agencies an advance copy of the figures on the strict understanding they are not published before they have been formally released.

Spare a thought then for two Bloomberg reporters in Prague. 'The New York Post' reports that they published a report from the Czech Central Bank all of one minute before the report was formally released.

Bloomberg's Washington-based executive editor promptly flew out to Prague to let the unfortunate pair have it with both barrels. Both men were fired. The two positions are now advertised on Bloomberg's careers website.

Rough justice perhaps, but it is a measure of how unforgiving news is these days, especially business news, where stories can make or lose people huge amounts of money.

Irish Independent

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