Friday 17 November 2017

The Punt: Carney wants to make mark

Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Photo: Bloomberg
Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Photo: Bloomberg

Mark Carney has been hinting he'd like to remain in the top job at the Bank of England.

In testimony to politicians in London yesterday, Carney, below, said it's a "tremendous honour" to have his current job and there is a "lot more to be done" at the central bank.

It's yet another signal from the Canadian that he could seek to stay for the full eight-year term permitted by UK legislation, instead of the five years he indicated when he was appointed.

Carney was named to the role in late 2012 by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

He succeeded Mervyn King at the London-based institution in July 2013, meaning he reached the half-way point of the five years he said he will serve at the end of 2015.

The mystery surrounding his future has echoes of the build-up to his appointment, when he denied he had any interest in the BOE job and ruled out the possibility he would move from the Bank of Canada, where he was governor.

For now, he has a much bigger question to grapple with - whether and when to increase benchmark borrowing costs from 0.5pc.

Coveney plays his cards close

Annual general meetings can be difficult affairs. Depending on how a company is doing, it can either be an all-day epic with rows every few minutes and angry shareholders demanding the chief executive's head on a platter (think bank AGMs in recent years), or a leisurely affair with all resolutions passed easily and everyone happy.

Greencore's meeting has gone from one to the other in recent years. Back in 2011, after a failed merger with Northern Foods, the share price was stuck below €1 and investors lined up to lambast CEO Patrick Coveney. Yesterday's meeting was a much more sedate affair.

It was long, but with shareholders basically pleased with a company share price that has trebled in the last four years. Every resolution was carried with at least 98pc support.

That's the kind of Saddam Hussein-esque approval rating that his brother, Agriculture minister Simon Coveney, can only dream of.

And if Patrick has any insights into when his brother is going to face his own "shareholders", the electorate, he was keeping it to himself.

"No," he laughingly replied when asked if he knew when the General Election date will be.

Green shoots, and scores

Property firm Green REIT has persuaded financial powerhouse Fidelity International to take 26,500 sq ft at its Georges Quay House property in Dublin 2.

Fidelity is moving into the area as Twitter moves on - for bigger premises elsewhere. The Punt isn't sure what the shift from techies to moneybags says about the hipness or otherwise of the neighbourhood. Perhaps nothing. Strictly speaking, Fidelity is initially moving into space vacated by Royal Bank of Canada.

It won't expand into the separate 41,000 sq ft at same property being vacated by Twitter and US firm Invesco until later in the year.

Green's asset management director, Ronan Webster, commented; "We are delighted to secure Fidelity International as tenants in Georges Quay. With the letting to Fidelity International and the retention of Royal Bank of Canada within the Georges Quay estate, we continue to keep occupancy at 100pc in one of Dublin's finest office locations."

Both leases are for €49 per sq ft. JLL were agents on the deal.

Irish Independent

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