Editorial: Consistency and talent a winning formula
Accommodating monetary policy, marked by lower interest rates than ever seen in world financial history, is underpinning the global economic outlook. Indeed we are ending the year with markets that, as 2020 looms into view, are more confident than at this time just twelve months ago.

While that is encouraging, and there are many reasons for confidence about the global economic outlook, there is a niggling concern that must result from that sobering fact about historic interest rates. It is to be hoped that other factors can prevail and that the continued recovery can continue well into the 2020s.

The continued confidence is reflected in the US stock market, and relatively benign conditions in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Despite trade war spats, and myriad geopolitical and environmental anxieties the recovery from the decade of austerity can still be spoken of.

The Irish economy continues to bask in the reflected glory, and is managing to successfully surf the favourable tide. Figures in this issue show the continued robust performance of Irish corporation tax returns for the most important month of the year - November - for this tax ‘head’. This month’s Special Report: Investment Funds 2020 (on page 11 of the e-paper and print edition) records that Net Asset Values in Ireland’s funds industry reached €2.928 trillion at the end of Q3 2019, putting the Irish NAV share of the European industry, as measured by EFAMA, at 17.1 per cent, surpassed only by Luxembourg at 26.6 per cent (€4.6 trillion).

There is no doubt, of course that the corporation tax returns and the success of the Irish funds industry both reflect the condition of world economies, and world stock markets. The tide is favourable at present.

But successful surfing requires more than just a favourable wave, it requires talent, application and consistency as well.

As we write in this month’s Irish Tax Monitor (on page 51 of the e-paper), Ireland’s success as a tax jurisdiction in consistently attracting FDI aided by its low CT rate is a measure not just of the low rate, but the perception there is at large about Ireland’s consistency in defending it, and in maintaining the commitments to ‘playing fair and playing to win’, to quote a recent Finance Minister.

Consistency, talent and application are features too of the success of Ireland’s funds industry, still a youthful 30 odd years old only, now second largest in Europe.

Writing in this month’s Special Report: Investment Funds 2020 (on page 11 of the e-paper) Northern Trust’s Clive Bellows, who took up the role of President of the Institute of Banking this year, writes about new frontiers of talent and skill being developed for the funds industry, where over 6,000 people have obtained professional qualifications specific to the funds industry, which are, as he puts it, “an exciting opportunity for Ireland to lead the way”.
This article appeared in the December 2019 edition.