Today in the pressMonday 18 August 2014 09.39
US BANKS PLAN AHEAD FOR UK EXIT FROM EU - Wall Street banks are drawing up preliminary plans to move some London-based activities to Ireland to address concerns that the UK is drifting apart from the EU.
People familiar with Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley told the Financial Times that they considered Ireland a favourable location for some of their European business if they needed to move them out of the UK. One said he was already planning to move some activities to Ireland. The people said their plans were in most cases still at very early stages. But they said the US banks had started preparing for the euro zone’s impending banking union that threatens to isolate Britain and, ultimately, for a possible UK exit from the EU. “I’m frankly looking at moving some activities to Ireland,” said one senior UK-based manager at a Wall Street bank. “I think the Irish central bank and government would welcome this. It is not so much Brexit, more about legal entity optimisation.” Most US and Asian banks have chosen to base their main European operations in the UK, giving them an automatic passport to carry out their services across all 28 countries in the EU. But senior US banking executives said the UK was unlikely to be granted the same “passporting” rights if it left the EU - the so-called “Brexit” scenario. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on a renegotiated EU membership if his Conservative party wins next May’s election.
MASS EXODUS OF SANDBOX MEMBERS FOLLOWING RESTRUCTURING - Sandbox, the international business networking organisation, has suffered an exodus of Irish members amid complaints about a new fee-based and elitist structure being adopted by the organisation’s new owners, writes the Irish Times. Sandbox, founded in 2009, aims to bring the brightest, youngest entrepreneurs in the world into contact with each other. Over the last five years, its members have graced the covers of Wired and Fast Company, spoken at the World Economic Forum and the United Nations, and been consistently featured on the Forbes “30 under 30” list. One email, however, has caused a mass exodus from what was once the foremost global network of young innovators and entrepreneurs. Natasha Sherling, co-ambassador of Sandbox Dublin, said the 35 members of the network’s Irish hub all made the decision to leave, and join HQ. “When we heard about the changes, pretty much everyone decided overnight that they didn’t want to be part of the network. We are not about paying and being extremely elitist. We have thus moved on to a new group called HQ.”
"SPURIOUS" LAWSUIT DISMISSED BY WEB SUMMIT FOUNDERS - The founders of the Dublin Web Summit have filed a motion in a US court to dismiss a "spurious" €4.5m legal case over an attempt to trademark the word "summit", says today's Irish Independent. The lawsuit, taken by an American seminar and real estate developer, Elliott Bisnow, has been criticised by Dublin Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave as "speculative". "You cannot copyright the word 'summit' just as a coffee chain cannot copyright the word 'coffee'," he said. Mr Cosgrave also said that the product offered by the plaintiff's company, Summit Series, is "completely different" to the Dublin event, which expects to attract 20,000 people this November. Mr Bisnow claims that Dublin Web Summit founder Mr Cosgrave developed a 'Summit' conferencing theme after talks between the two in Montana in 2010. However, Mr Cosgrave has dismissed the charge. "We registered the Dublin Web Summit domain long before I ever met any of these people," he said.
INDEPENDENT URGED FOR LOAN SCHEME - Specialist financial services firm, Genworth Financial, has backed calls for any universal mortgage insurance scheme to be independently-backed, rather than guaranteed by the State. The practice - which sees mortgage lending risk shared between lenders and either Government or private insurers - can lead to lower interest rates, more affordable mortgage loans, lower arrears levels, less risk to lenders and greater access to the housing market for first-time buyers, says the Irish Examiner. Finance Minister Michael Noonan is considering introducing such a scheme - already widely used in North America, Australia and parts of mainland Europe - as part of the Government’s ‘Construction 2020’ strategy plan. It would be directly aimed at high loan-to-value mortgages, where the borrower has a low deposit level. However, on the back of figures showing a jump in mortgage draw-downs in the second quarter of the year, opposition politicians last week, urged stricter lending controls and avoidance of a “credit free-for-all”. Independent TD, Stephen Donnelly, expressed concern over the potential for the Government to offer a State guarantee to first-time buyer deposits on 95% mortgages.