SMALL FIRMS GET TOUGH ON LATE PAYERS - Nearly a quarter of small businesses are unaware of their powers to penalise late payers by charging interest on outstanding payments, while less than 10% have actually used such powers, according to a new study. The Late Payment in Commercial Transactions Act, which was amended by an EU Directive, was transposed into Irish law last March, writes the Irish Examiner. The new legislation allows firms automatically to charge interest penalties on accounts outstanding by 30 days or more. However, a survey of SMEs by the Small Firms Association shows that almost 25% of such companies are unaware of the legislation and of the majority that do know about it, only 8% have used it and just 4% have been successful in their efforts. “Getting paid on time is a never-ending problem for small businesses. Late payment causes serious cash flow problems, requires firms to extend overdraft facilities and consumes a great deal of management time. This, in turn, affects the ability of the business to compete, be profitable and grow,” according to SFA acting director Avine McNally.
PROPERTY PRICE SURGE SPARKS NEW HOUSING BUBBLE FEAR - A massive jump in property prices in Dublin has prompted fears of a new housing bubble developing in the capital, says the Irish Independent. A shortage of family-type homes in Dublin, particularly in the south of the city, means that people are being priced out of the market. Property experts report that up to 100 people are showing up for each viewing, such is the demand for even modest three-bed properties. The jump in prices on the east coast is in contrast to the rest of the country where price changes are muted. Prices in the capital city and its suburbs shot up by 8% in the year to July. In the month of July alone prices jumped by 3.3% - the highest price rise for eight years. Apartment prices rose by even greater amounts as buyers compete for a limited number of properties. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said prices nationwide were up 2.3%, compared with July 2012. It was the second month in a row that prices have risen nationally. And one leading estate agency said the figures from the CSO actually understated the rises. Director of research at Savills John McCartney said agents on the ground were reporting price increases of up to 20% in some prime residential neighbourhoods in south Dublin.
GOLDMAN FACES LOSSES ON ERRONEOUS TRADES - A computer glitch at Goldman Sachs could cost the investment bank $100m or more after it inadvertently made a large number of erroneous options trades on Tuesday that disrupted trading across multiple US exchanges, market participants told the Financial Times. A trading system that normally tracks how Goldman would price options on behalf of its clients malfunctioned and sent expressions of interest as orders to exchanges operated by NYSE Euronext, Nasdaq OMX and CBOE in the opening minutes of the US trading day, a person familiar with the bank’s trading said. Some of those orders were sent with default prices that differed dramatically from market prices for options linked to stocks and exchange-traded funds including JPMorgan Chase and Kellogg. The bank’s losses from the mishap are expected to become clearer in coming days as the exchanges review each transaction. The problem sparked heated discussions between Goldman, the exchanges and trading firms that took the other side of the trades, people familiar with the situation said. Resolution over what would happen with the trades is not expected until at least Wednesday, as NYSE said it was unable to complete its trade reviews during market hours and would give participants until Wednesday morning to appeal against any decisions.
INTERN DEATH LEADS TO CALL FOR REVIEW OF CULTURE IN BANKS - Banks in the City of London are facing calls to overhaul the working culture for younger staff following the death of a 21-year-old intern at Bank of America. Moritz Erhardt, an intern at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, was found dead last week in his shower at his accommodation in east London, it emerged yesterday says the Irish Times. A Bank of America spokesman confirmed that the German business student had died, but said the bank had not yet been made aware of the cause of his death. He declined to comment on online reports claiming Mr Erhardt’s death was due to an epileptic fit that followed three nights of working 72 hours in a row. Bankers said working hours for interns are tough and often stretch beyond midnight, but added that it would be unusual for an intern to do two or even three all-nighters. ''Analysts and associates have to work like dogs. But interns would not be trusted to do such long working hours as they are seen as too inexperienced,” said one banker. Intern Aware, a charity campaigning for the better treatment of interns, hit out at what it called a 100-hour working culture for students on summer work experience at banks.