| 4.6°C Dublin

Both firms win and domestic broking is boosted

INVESTEC'S takeover of NCB Stockbrokers is good news for both companies and will be seen as an endorsement of the domestic broking business.

In the phrase of Investec Ireland chief executive Michael Cullen, the takeover will give his firm a "greater footprint" in Ireland.

NCB will meanwhile draw on the comfort of Investec's €3bn balance sheet which will be very welcome at a time when all financial houses are under pressure.

The deal also demonstrates however just how far the industry has fallen since the halcyon days of the boom.

In 2006 management at Davy Stockbrokers, with about €6.5bn in assets under management (AUM), paid Bank of Ireland €316m for just over 90pc of their firm.

Compare that to the sales of Goodbody Stockbrokers in September 2010 and NCB yesterday.

Goodbody, with nearly €4bn of assets under management was sold by Allied Irish Banks at a fire sale price of €24m, while Investec are paying €32.35m for NCB and its €1.3bn AUM.

By general consensus most brokers in Ireland these days need to get bigger to survive.

The number of clients has shrunk dramatically in the last five years while the value of the Irish Stock Exchange has fallen off a cliff.

NCB itself has attracted a number of suitors in recent years.

A year ago the US giant Cantor FitzGerald is believed to have made an approach and is also thought to have at least run the rule over Dolmen Stockbrokers.

This is unlikely to be the last big deal in the sector.

Irish Independent