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Wednesday, 24th August 2016

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

Why is Quantitive Easing (QE) not working?

The ECB Quantitative Easing [QE] programme began in September 2015 and the ECB is currently buying €80 billion of bonds every month. Looking at the Eurozone economy since July 2008, the ECB’s balance sheet has increased by 209%; Money Supply (M2), the total amount of money in our bank accounts, has increased by 120%; the amount of lending in the Eurozone is now at 99%, less than where we were in 2008. In economic theory all these three measures should move together when an economy is in normal mode.

The ECB believes with borrowing rates at close to zero, the private sector will borrow cheap money and spend it thus increasing spending and driving up inflation to it’s 2% pa target. But that is not happening, households and corporates are repaying debt

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Wednesday, 24th August 2016

Demand for construction and property professionals was up 40% in July compared to this time last year, according to new figures released by leading recruitment experts, Hays Ireland.

Architecture emerged as the fastest growth area for the month of July, with demand for architects up 60% on July 2015. Other professions in short supply include senior contract managers, quantity surveyors and engineers. This increase in demand across the sector is also reflected in the salaries currently on offer for experienced professionals. For example, senior contract managers with over 15 years’ experience can now command salaries of €90,000 plus benefits annually, meanwhile experienced architects can expect salaries in excess of €55,000.

This increased demand for construction and property workers in Ireland has not gone unnoticed by those working overseas. In July, Hays Ireland experienced a 35% month on month increase in the number

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Wednesday, 17th August 2016

On the 20th and 21st August thousands will take part in the Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford. I have once again signed up to tackle the gruelling Sean Kelly 160km, along with many

another Lycra clad pedal pushers – drivers be warned, the roads will literally be thronging with cyclists!

My memory of last year, the first time I tackled this most challenging of cycling events, is still very vivid and fresh, as though it was only yesterday that I completed the course, over some of Sean's "training routes”. Whilst, I will never be a great cyclist, like Sean, I can at least say I have trained on the roads that made him the great cycling ambassador for Waterford!

Here is my memory of the 2015 Sean Kelly 160km.

I collected my goodie bag, the night before the event. This contained; a snazzy commemorative

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Wednesday, 17th August 2016

The Construction Industry Federation has launched its annual construction safety week campaign today and called on all construction companies to set aside time this week to reemphasise the importance of safety to their employees with a view to further reducing workplace accidents.

The week will commence on September 12th and will see a series of week-long initiatives run across construction sites and offices nationally. The aim is to help construction companies establish a safety mindset amongst their employees. This will ultimately reduce workplace accidents and maximise the safety and well-being of their employees.

Director General of CIF, Tom Parlon said,"We're asking all construction companies and self-employed involved in the sector to take time this week to reemphasis safety on site. The industry has been very successful in reducing workplace accidents and safety and health is now the cornerstone of the reputation of

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Wednesday, 17th August 2016

Returns on cash deposits are minimal and with no prospect of an increase in the European Central Bank [ECB] rates, they are likely to stay very low for a long time. Many investors would be happy with a return of 2% pa. However, cash returns are closer to zero.

Investing in bonds [the debt of governments or corporations] has traditionally been a popular and relatively safe way to invest. Sovereign or government debt is generally safer than debt issued by corporates.

Currently, the risk of investing in the debt of Eurozone countries is considered very low; consequently the reward for doing so is also very low. Investors in medium term Eurozone sovereign bonds are currently guaranteed negative returns on those bonds.

An alternative asset class is investment grade corporate bonds. These are corporations with an S & P rating of above BBB+. These

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Wednesday, 10th August 2016

Why invest in infrastructure?

Infrastructure offers investors a potentially long-term, low-risk, and inflation-linked profile and an alternative asset class that could provide new sources of return and diversification of risk.

Infrastructure assets provide essential services that are necessary for populations and economies to function, prosper, and grow. They include a variety of assets divided into five general sectors:

· Transport (e.g., toll roads, airports, seaports, and rail);

· Energy (e.g., gas and electricity transmission, distribution, and generation);

· Water (e.g., pipelines and treatment plants);

· Communications (e.g., broadcast, satellite, and cable);

· Social (e.g., hospitals, schools, and prisons).

Infrastructure assets operate in an environment of limited competition as a result of natural monopolies, government regulations, or concessions. Most companies have long-term regulatory contracts to operate the assets, which can provide a predictable return over time. As a result, infrastructure assets have the potential to generate consistent, stable cash

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Wednesday, 10th August 2016

carbon neutral in UK and Ireland first with BP

adi Group , a leading multi-disciplined engineering solutions company with offices in Waterford, has partnered with BP to become the first business in the UK and Ireland to offset its fleet's carbon emissions through the BP Plus Fuel Card.

As part of adi's ongoing commitment to the environment, each time one of its 193 company vehicles uses the BP Plus fuel card to refuel at a BP service station, the carbon emissions associated with that purchase will be calculated and offset, leaving its vehicle fleet driving carbon neutral.

In order to demonstrate its commitment to carbon reduction and offsetting, the engineering group has already offset 1179 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions from 2015 and predicts it will offset almost 1200 tonnes of carbon equivalent emissions on an annual basis.

Calculating the CO2 emissions from the

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Wednesday, 3rd August 2016

Michael Garland, bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

Our precious "FREE" time

Those who have been reading this column, for some months now, will know that I have quite openly come out and I am now officially a MAMIL (Middle Aged Man In Lycra). Whilst having my middle life crisis, I could of course have bought a Harley – but alas with number one daughter in University of Limerick, pedal power won out – after all this was the cheaper option for this Scot!

Yes, I have gone completely mad into the sport of cycling – the new golf! I am a member of the Waterford Biscuit Club. I have now become one of those people who one way or another seems to infuriate some of our vehicular brethren.

I have heard and read about cyclist hating drivers who text, emailing and commenting on award winning

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Wednesday, 3rd August 2016

Following a meeting on Tuesday, 26th July of representatives from the Inner City Community Alliance, it was agreed to request an open public meeting by local planning and council officials to outline their plans for the proposed development in the Michael St./New St. area. This meeting should involve an overhead projection of the scheme plus a to scale model of the shopping centre and multi-story car park.

A previous request was refused on the grounds that there was an application for more information on the project. This request came from the Dept. of Arts and Heritage and Gaelteacht. The new information has now been submitted by representatives of the developers. In a substantial earlier submission document the Dept. expressed grave concerns regarding the councils plans for "this historic and sensitive area". They said "We are concerned at the layout and elevational

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Wednesday, 3rd August 2016

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

Can I contribute to my Pension Scheme at work after age 65?

Ireland does not have an official retirement age but the State Pension Age is currently age 66 and the State Pension (Contributory) is paid to those who have enough social insurance contributions. It is not means tested and you can have other income and still receive it, but all your incomes will be liable for income tax.

From 2021, the age for pension payment will rise to age 67 and in 2028 it will rise to age 68. In most Irish occupational pension schemes the Normal Retirement Age is still 65 but certain occupations allow an earlier Normal Retirement Age.

Many occupational pension schemes aim to provide retirement benefits that includes the State pension which used to be paid from age 65.

The increase in the age at which

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    Republican Icon diesThe death of Martin McGuinness in Derry yesterday morning brings to an end the life of one of the most remarkable Republicans ever in the history of the movement. A person who made the transition from violent militarism to a key figure in the peace process in Northern Ireland. He died aged 66 in DerryÔÇÖs Altanagelvin Hospital with his family by his bedside.A former member of the IRAÔÇÖS Army Council he became Sinn FeinÔÇÖs Chief negotiator in the peace process. He led the Sinn Fein P …

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