Morning business news - September 20

Friday 20 September 2013 10.30
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

HEDGE FUND INDUSTRY THE BACKBONE OF IRISH FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY - The hedge fund industry is worth $4 trillion and has significant ties to Ireland. John Bohan, managing director of Apex Fund Services Ireland, says that hedge funds have received a lot of unfair negative press in recent years including the like of Bernie Madoff and other ponzi schemes. But Mr Bohan says that really a hedge fund is a collective investment scheme which is a creator of both employment and wealth. Hedging simply means reducing risk. The hedge fund industry has been an ''incredible'' success story over the last 25 years, reporting growth every year bar one. Mr Bohan says it is the ''real backbone'' of the financial services industry in Ireland.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Irish company Dataplex has opened a €23m data centre in west Dublin. Coincidentally Microsoft has secured planning permission for another such facility, its fourth in Ireland. Large technology companies such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon have all been basing such centres here to handle demand from customers for services, including email document storage and music streaming, which are provided over the internet rather than stored on home computers.

*** The many undocumented Irish in the US may have found an unlikely saviour in the form of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerburg. He has met politicians in Washington to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform. Zuckerburg's interest is in making it easier for graduates with the technology skills his company needs to get into the US. The legislation needed to do that was approved by the US Senate earlier this year but faces significant opposition in the larger House of Representatives. That legislation also contains a "path to citizenship" scheme for undocumented immigrants in the states, including an estimated 50,000 Irish. Zuckerburg has thrown his weight, not to mention several hundred thousand dollars in political contributions, behind the effort. He even ditched his trademark hoodie for meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill yesterday.

*** The head of Canadian financial group Great West Lifeco says he is keen to follow up the company's €1.3 billion purchase of Irish Life with other acquisitions in Ireland. In an interview with today's Irish Times, Bill Kyle says there is an "opportunity for consolidation" in the life assurance and pensions market here.