Sunday 17 December 2017

The Punt: Ghosts in the machines?

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Reuters

By and large, the march of technology has been good for the world.

Most of the time computerisation has helped us but there is growing evidence that when it comes to trading at least, then perhaps it isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

Apart from losing the spectacle of "open outcry" trading, and the question marks around high frequency trading, we are also becoming more and more susceptible to the dreaded computer problem.

Yesterday, a technical glitch delayed trading on the Eurex Exchange - one of the biggest in Europe. This came days after the New York Stock Exchange was shut down for several hours without explanation.

Other markets, including the London Stock Exchange, now have to deal with tech all the time.

It's perhaps with a touch of irony that these glitches have came days after one of the most famous physical trading floors - the Chicago Mercantile Exchange - closed to be replaced by computers.

Open outcry, is fast, energetic, and stressful, but at least the market can run normally in most circumstances.

From mid-west to West End

Limerick man Aidan Brook's high end London property push is continuing apace, and the scale is extraordinary.

Brook's Tribeca Holdings has snapped up the stakes it didn't already own in a £1bn (€1.4bn) portfolio of London retail assets, according to Bloomberg.

In what looks like a fairly convoluted set of deals, Brooks is said to have bought out stakes in assets spanning central London's business districts - from Bond Street (below) and Knightsbridge in the West End to Old Spitalfields Market in East London to create the massive retail portfolio.

The stake in Spitalfields, a gentrified historic covered market close to London's financial district, is being bought from Ashkenazy Acquisition, a US firm that owns Boston's Faneuil Hall.

It bought Old Spitalfields two year's ago from another Irish investor, Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Group. Given the scale of his current moves it looks like Aidan Brooks has weathered the crash in good shape.

That's no mean feat. Mind you he started out buying, improving and letting houses in Limerick city centre aged just 18.

Niamh's Kiwi move bears fruit

Dublin native Niamh McMahon has been appointed the honorary consul general for Ireland to New Zealand.

While she was born in Dublin, she was raised in Tipperary, attending the presentation convent in Clonmel. She studied at NUI Galway from 1979 to 1983, where she received a BA.

She upped sticks and jetted off to New Zealand in 1984, where she secured her law degree.

An avid scuba diver, she's become a legal heavyweight in her adopted country, with a particular focus on commercial and business law. McMahon is now a partner at Auckland law firm McMahon Butterworth Thompson, where she's worked since 2000.

On her firm's website, McMahon says: "After working in factories I swore I'd never end up in a monotonous job. After working in London one summer during my university holidays, I promised myself that I would live close to my work and not face a long commute every day." New Zealand statistics show that in 2007, 1,214 people from Ireland arrived in the country intending to stay 12 months or more. In 2010, the number rose to 1,302, and by 2014 it had dipped again to 1,240.

Irish Independent

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