Posts Tagged ‘Quintas Wealth Management’

7 tips to get the right Life Insurance

July 23, 2014

Life Insurance

Here are a few tips on how to get the right Life Insurance

1 – Comparison shop online. There are many sites that aggregate offers from the top insurers for one-stop shopping. Quintas Wealth Management can provide you with a Life Insurance quote from all listed Irish Insurance companies. Quintas Wealth Management does not charge a fee for this service.

2 – Consider features besides price. Insurance is only as good as the company that stands behind it. So always compare the death benefit, claim history, policy premium, and insurer’s rating.

3 – Find out what your employer offers. Insurance through a group policy may be of good value, but it’s smart to supplement it with a private policy in case you lose your job. You can have multiple life insurance policies, and that may be required to have enough coverage.

4 – Purchase enough coverage. Most people underestimate the amount of life insurance that’s needed to protect their families. A rule of thumb is to have at least 3 times your annual income—but you may need much more depending on the age and health of your dependents; or any loans/ debts outstanding.

5 – Don’t forget to adjust your coverage. Re-evaluate your death benefit on an ongoing basis—especially as you earn more, change jobs, have a child, get married, get divorced, experience a serious illness or disability, begin caring for an aging parent, have a death in the family, or start a business.

6 – Don’t cancel a policy before getting a new one. If you find a more affordable life insurance policy, be sure the new one is in force before you cancel the old one so there’s no lapse in coverage.

7 – Speak to a Financial Advisor if you have questions. At Quintas Wealth Management you can speak to a financial advisor if you have a question about what type of life insurance policy is right for you or how much you really need. Quintas Wealth Management does not charge a fee for this service.

Quintas Wealth Management can be contacted on 021 4641480 or email info@qwm.ie

Is there an endgame for the Euro??

January 26, 2012

Save the Euro?

Uncertainty over the future of Europe and the Euro has reached a dangerous phase.  Risk in Europe has become skewed due to lack of clear leadership and compounded by significant deleveraging in the private and public sector.  A strong policy response has been required for over 6 months now and as this necessary response continues to be put off markets have increased risk premium attached to practically all asset classes. 

Countries, corporates and individuals are being forced to accelerate deleveraging of their balance sheets.  Non-core assets are specifically suffering from extreme risk aversion.  Markets like nothing more than certainty and at the moment uncertainty abounds.  For banks (and the functioning of the financial system) this is leading to a damaging spiral of an accelerated sell off in assets in the midst of weak buying.  That private balance sheets need to be deleveraged is not in questions but in order to have any orderly market adjustment there needs to be strong buyers. 

The ECB has committed to supporting the financial system through increased lending.  But with both the banking and private sector deleveraging the appetite to circulate this influx of cash is significantly diminished.  The real issue lies on the balance sheet of the government sector which is now being forced to contract.  The recent agreement to finance the banking sector was augmented with a fiscal austerity plan that will weaken and contain government spending.  This will lead to the 3 sectors of economies (private, corporate and government) all embarking on deleveraging and contraction at exactly the same time.  This is not a recipe for recovery.

We expect the next 3 months to be the most crucial ever for the Euro zone and the entire future of the European project.  We also remain wary of the knock on effects around the world. 

Legal aspects of a Euro Breakup:

While the breakup (full or partial) of the Euro is not a done deal by any means we are encouraging investors to consider the fact that the probability of this outcome has increased and they should at least partially insure their portfolios against such an event.  While there is not a definitive answer to what happens in such an event, our research highlights the fact that it may come down to whether domestic (Irish) or international law applies to the individual assets in your portfolio.   As such investors should consider what law governs their assets.

by David O’Shea

David is Investment Director in Quintas Wealth Management

The views expressed in this article  is not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse.  We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

Quintas Quarterly Economic Review (Winter 2011)

January 12, 2012

James McCarthy Investment Analyst

As the Eurozone continues to suffer from euro-breakup fears, this is having an impact on economic growth at home. With Ireland being an open economy, any slowdown in our export markets will reduce our growth rates, likely leading to more cuts.

Ireland has made promising strides forward in increasing our competitiveness. Despite this we still need to get our day to day spending down. In terms of austerity that is required, it would be sensible to begin significantly reducing large public sector pensions (and then go onto the next level), particularly since the government is effectively bankrupt. One example would be politicians. Former Justice Minister, Dermot Ahern, 55 walked away with €180,000 up-front and a pension of €128,000 every year, reduced to about €70,000 after tax (pay cheque of almost €6,000 per month) for the rest of his life. If we assume 25 years receiving this payment, this would translate into almost €2,000,000 net. This is for one person. That’s the equivalent of earning a gross salary of €30,000 each year for 67 years of labour.

Regardless of whether this could be touched or not, it is probably more worthwhile to ask how such excesses could ever have arisen. This could be changed for future retirees. A cut to €25,000 a year could be appropriate with exceptions made for job performance. While that would represent a massive decrease, it would still continue to be a very generous pension. If you combine this with other savings they may have from their high incomes while working, it is within their means to have a financially secure retirement.

When the government talks about protecting vulnerable social groups yet refuses to drastically reduce these absurd pensions it makes you question their leadership and judgment, and it remains frustrating to see that this will likely never change. With such excesses granted in just one area by successive governments, regardless of job performance, the chart below is not surprising.

Source: NTMA

Irish Debt

by James McCarthy,

James is an Investment Analyst in Quintas Wealth Management

The views expressed in this article  is not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse.  We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

 

Women: protect yourself from pension shortfalls

November 4, 2011

Nine out of ten women face poverty in retirement and the problem of low pension provision among the female half of the population is a cause for concern for the Pensions Board. The Central Statistics Office last year revealed that 56% of women are not covered by an occupational pension compared with 45% of men. So if men and women are treated equally in relation to pension provisions why are many women forced to survive on a fraction of their male counterparts’ pension?

Women on average earn less than men, are more likely to be working part-time, have fragmented career patterns and are also living longer than men, all of which leaves them particularly susceptible to poverty in later life.  Women almost exclusively carry the social responsibility for unpaid care work in families. Whether someone is in full-time or part-time employment has a significant impact on their funding for retirement due to the fact that someone in part-time employment will be less likely to be able to afford the same level of contributions than their full-time counterparts. In addition to this, 45% of all Irish women aged between 15 and 64 are currently not officially in the workforce and therefore have no official earnings. It is significantly harder for women to build up adequate contributions in both private and public systems. It is important for the modern independent woman to think about what standard of living she wants to enjoy in retirement.  Traditionally women over 65 relied solely on the state pension through the social welfare system.   This system defined many women as qualified adults deriving their pension rights through their husbands contribution record thus reinforcing women’s dependency on men as the primary earners.

90% of women experience a huge drop in income upon retirement and find themselves with considerably less money to live on which effects their quality of life as they no longer have the same spending power which can result in a loss of independence. The average woman retiring today at 60 has a life expectancy of a further 20-25 years which is a significant amount of time to enjoy in retirement. It takes a long time to save for retirement and the earlier a person starts to contribute to a pension the better!

by Anne O’Doherty 

Anne is a Senior Wealth Manager at Quintas 

The views expressed in this article  is not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse.  We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

The Independent Republic of Cork – Has the time come?

October 21, 2011

Filettino a tiny town in central Italy with population of 600 recently made an enormous statement by declaring itself an independent republic. In protest at the austerity packages being implemented in Italy they felt that as the main source of water supply to Rome that they have leverage and decided to use it.  They declared independence and told the government in Rome that if they resisted the move that they would turn off their water. They’re now using their own currency and have no national debt a rare thing indeed.

 It cast my mind back to September 1990 and the home coming of the Cork football team to join their hurling colleagues as double all Ireland champions. The loudest cheer that night in Patrick St. was not for either Captain; no ironically it was for Bishop John Buckley who caught the attention and adulation of the nearly 100,000 strong crowds that night when he proudly declared “tonight there are two types of people Cork people and those who wish they were Cork people”.

I’m not sure it that was the birth of “The Peoples Republic of Cork” perhaps it was. I know the “Real Capital” goes back to Jack Lynchs time and the jokes such as “a Cork man with an inferiority complex…. one who thinks he’s the same as everyone else!” have been around for some time.

 I wonder what if we were to go it alone and declare a Republic could we survive what would it be like. Well let’s think about it for a while, we’ve got a lot more going for us than Filettino. As the largest county we have ample agricultural land and the coastline to sustain a fishing industry. We have the economic drivers of pharmaceutical, electronics and IT industries. We’ve got an army and navy base, a deep sea port, international airport, two universities and plenty tourist attractions.

 We could contact the IMF and ECB and tell them we’ll take on the Nama loans relating to our own county now country only, leaving much of the carnage and burden from inflated land prices predominately in Dublin behind us. Roy Keane would manage our international soccer team. Ger O’Mahony might be available to take on the role of Minister of Finance but who would be our leader our President?

 We need a President who commands respect internationally, a leader in his or her field, who’s worked his way to the summit, learned from his mistakes along the way. Someone who’s not afraid of making the unpopular decisions but invariably gets it right, an outstanding organizer a great leader, inspiring yet humble who would encourage us to rise above and beyond our capabilities both individually and collectively as a fledging nation… My nominee is Declan Kidney.

 Should we declare independence and if so who would you vote for as President of the Peoples Republic of Cork?

by Fachna O’Mahony

Fachtna O’Mahony is a Partner at Quintas 

The views expressed in this article  is not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse.  We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

Gold – where will prices go?

October 14, 2011

The price of gold recently topped $1,900 a troy ounce before falling back again. While jewellery consistently remains the largest source of global demand, gold’s safe haven status continues to influence prices.

In order to do a “rich-cheap” analysis in terms of historical price levels, gold is often discounted to its “real” value using US inflation as a deflator. This way gold is trading near an all-time high. However this is not entirely appropriate as the US accounts for less than 10% of global gold demand. In China and India who account for over 50% of global demand, by discounting gold prices by nominal increases in wages in these countries, gold has remained more affordable. While the price of gold has increased, wages have also increased lessening the impact of higher prices. The general uptrend in gold prices over the past decade has more than any other factor been due to growth in Asia.

Since the onset of the financial crisis in 2007, western investors, who throughout the early to mid 2000s shunned gold, have returned through purchasing exchange traded funds, gold bars and coins. Central banks who were net sellers of gold over the same time period have also reversed that trend. While not the largest source of demand, both cases have put upward pressure on gold prices. Combined with high inflation in fast growing emerging economies and fears over the strength of the US dollar, these factors together may have elevated gold beyond its “fair” price, with investors in panic mode.

While our research suggests gold has the potential to increase due to growth in Asia and because of its safe haven status, it may be subject to sharp corrections. Gold may rebate if the European sovereign debt crisis is solved, if the US gets their own fiscal house in order or a slowdown in Asia. With this in mind gaining exposure to up or down movements in gold prices within a certain trading range may be an ideal way to play gold prices. Such a strategy can be replicated through the use of derivatives.

by James McCarthy,

James is an Investment Analyst in Quintas Wealth Management

 

The views expressed in this article  is not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse.  We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

Quintas Economic Review (Autumn 2011)

October 6, 2011

James McCarthy

While there has been a well publicized emphasis on a smart economy in Ireland, exporting traditional goods are not to be overlooked. High enrolement levels at universities is not necessarily required for a country to be economically successful. Germany has far fewer graduates than France yet has a higher GDP per capita. Many countries leading the way out of current financial difficulties have been countries such as China and Germany who have a strong manufacturing base. Those in most trouble are countries such as the US, the UK and Ireland all of whom concentrated on building jobs in the services sector over the past decade and outsourced many low to high-end manufacturing jobs. In Ireland, with spiraling wage costs during the past decade, we became uncompetitive and lost large parts of our manufacturing capabilities, which we are now trying to recreate to drive an export led recovery.

In 2010 the value of Irish exports reached €162.7bn, the largest figure ever for Ireland. One of the largest sector increases was for medical and pharmaceutical supplies, which increased by €24.3bn, a 15 per cent rise on the year before. Overall, almost two-thirds of Irish exports went to the US.

While Ireland remains in deep economic turmoil, we are still exporting mainly to developed countries such as the US and the UK, rather than selling our goods and services to developing nations, where economies are growing rapidly. Irish exports to China still only account for 3% of total merchandise exports. However with continued growth in the Chinese economy there is potential to take this up to 7% of total exports by 2015.

Annual External Trade

Geographical Area Exports Imports
EU 42% 29%
USA 23% 14%
Rest of World 19% 25%
UK 15% 32%

Source: CSO 2010

There are three major industrial sectors driving Irish exports – Chemical & Pharmaceutical, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Agri-Food & Drink.

1. The Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sector: Exporters in this sector continue to be among the strongest performers in the Irish economy which together account for nearly two-thirds of all exports. In 2010 chemicals accounted for €22.8 billion or 25% of manufacturing output, pharmaceuticals €30.0 billion or 33%, and medical devices €4.3 billion or 4.8%.  Growth in this sector has driven Ireland’s strong export performance during our current difficulties. Johnson & Johnson is Ireland’s top exporter, shipping €8.5 billion worth of goods last year.

2. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sector: This sector covers both hardware and services companies.  While contributing 8.5% of manufacturing exports, the ICT sector has reduced in importance over previous years, with exports falling by 36% to €7.6 billion in 2010. Like the Chemical and Pharmaceutical sector, the top exporting companies in this sector are non Irish companies and most are working in computer software and services rather than hardware manufacturing.  Microsoft is the second largest exporter in Ireland with exports of €8 billion in 2010, with Google being the third largest.

3. The Food and Drink Sector:  This sector has long been the traditional backbone of Irish exports. In contrast to the chemical, pharmaceutical and ICT sectors, Irish owned companies are more dominant than foreign multinationals, with companies such as Kerry Group and Glanbia being well known and established players. Food and drink makes up 14 per cent of all Irish exports. Because of the highly labour intensive nature of the sector it remains a vital part of the Irish economy, currently employing over 43,000 people. Importantly, employment in the sector has a wide regional spread, providing jobs not only in urban centres but also in rural areas.

The largest indigenous food and drink exporter is Kerry Group followed by the Swiss-based Aryzta, the Irish Dairy Board Co-op and Glanbia. Prospects for the sector remain positive, helped by strong global demand for exports expected to grow by 40% over the next decade.  According to Bord Bia’s food industry survey (December 2010), Irish food and drink manufacturers were more optimistic and showed a more positive outlook for 2011, which is reflected in the increase in exports so far this year.

The Future

With the current economic problems facing Ireland we now realise the significance of having a well diversified economy. As Ireland competes in the global marketplace for a limited number of jobs, we had little control to hold onto our manufacturing base due to decisions by previous governments. However in an increasingly volatile world, where possible, government policy should be encouraging and supporting indigenous Irish firms. Globalization has provided companies with opportunities to outsource and lower their costs by relocating to low tax countries or countries where labour costs are lower.Ireland has traditionally been a large benefactor of this. With current economic difficulties in many countries, protectionism is increasingly talked about as a solution to problems and in some ways is pursued either directly or indirectly, particularly through currency depreciation. Recently, Intel co-founder Andy Grove, when talking about US outsourcing of manufacturing jobs asked “…what kind of a society are we going to have if it consists of highly paid people doing high-value-added work – – and masses of unemployed?”  

by James McCarthy,

James is an Investment Analyst in Quintas Wealth Management

This article was included in our Autumn 2011 quarterly newsletter.

The views expressed in this article  is not reflective of the views or opinions held by Quintas. The material contained herein includes facts, opinions and recommendations which we neither guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of, nor do we endorse.  We do not accept any liability for any act, or decision not to act, use, misuse or distribution resulting from use of this material”.

High Oil Prices – The Winners, Losers and Cross Currents.

April 20, 2011

Rising Oil Prices

Oil has risen more than 50% over the last 6 months.  While volatility in the Middle East has been making headlines the most interesting aspect has been the fact that it has been the strength in the global recovery which explains more than 80% of this increase.  This is borne out by the fact that nearly 50% is produced by a combination of Russia, Saudi Arabia, US, Iran, China, Canada, and Mexico.  Libyaproduces 2% of global oil.

One of the other factors driving Oil price, at least in the short term, has been increased speculative activity.  Speculative positioning and trading volumes are at all time highs.  There has been a significant increase in buying of deep out-of-the money call options, which bet on more price surges.  While this suggests the market is positioning for a move higher in Oil prices it also warns of potential excessive moves lower should these positions be liquidated.

The impact of higher Oil will impact a variety of asset classes both directly and through its impact on global growth and the subsequent policy repose from governments and central bankers.

 While Oil prices increases generally have to be persistent to impact growth, there is no doubt that higher Oil price against a backdrop of a fragile global economy and higher commodity price inflation will only result in a drag on global growth.  The persistence of Oil prices above $110/bl could shave up to 0.5%-1% off current estimates of global growth.  Oil at a persistent $150/bl could impact global growth as much as 2%. 

Importantly there are differences between the potential impact of higher oil prices on developed versus developing world, with the former likely to suffer more than the latter.  While monetary policy is broadly accommodative across the globe it is significantly more accommodative in the developing world.    With accommodative monetary policy offering a cushion against rising Oil price, emerging markets are more likely to absorb any future oil price shock.  Historically the impact of rising Oil prices on the developed world has been about twice the impact on EM.

Over the past 30 years there has been little pass-through from higher Oil prices to Core inflation (i.e. inflation excluding food and energy) but the current economic fragility points to a more complex relationship.  The extent of food and energy price increases over the past year points to a potential breakdown of this historical relationship, with the inflation-growth dynamic complicating policy reaction for central bankers.

What this means is that there could be some reversal in the current trend towards tighter monetary policy.  Specifically, there could be divergence in the approach of countries.  The Federal Reserve in the US is likely to keep monetary policy more accommodative erring on the side of growth over inflation whereas the ECB is likely to continue to focus on inflation over growth.  Resulting interest rate differentials could see out performance of the Euro versus the US Dollar.  The US Dollar is also likely to suffer from the overdependence of the US relative to Europeon oil.  When Oil spiked to $140/bl in 2007 the Euro gained more than 10% again the US Dollar.

Europe is potentially more at risk from rising Natural Gas prices which it heavily imports and relies on for energy production.  Natural Gas prices have lagged Oil price increase over the past 6 months but we could witness a catch up if Oil prices remain at current levels.

While Gold has a strong correlation to Oil prices around times of geopolitical risk it is perhaps industrial metals that offer a more interesting trading opportunity.  Aluminium production in particular has a strong relationship with Oil prices as over 30% of its production costs are energy related.  Persistent Oil prices above $100/bl will put upward pressure on Aluminium and other energy intensive metals.

Equity markets are likely to suffer in the face of higher Oil prices.  One of the more interesting trends since 2008 has been the positive correlation of Equity markets to Oil prices.   Equity investors became more sanguine about Oil prices as global equity rallied in line with rising Oil prices.  This persistence positive correlation has been striking.  Historically however, this relationship does not last.  And in the past month this correlation has broken down and become negative for the first time in 2 years suggesting high Oil prices will cause the recent stock market rally to falter. 

Suggested strategy plays for higher Oil prices: Relative value plays favouring Emerging Markets over Developed Markets; Long Industrial Metals; Long EURUSD; Short Equity.

Regards

David O’Shea

David is Investment Director at Quintas.

The Simple Pleasures in Life!

March 31, 2011

Simple Pleasures

I recently spent a number of hours watching over my father as he lay sleeping in a hospital bed. As he was under sedation I was essentially alone in splendid solitude: no computer, no mobile phone, no email, no TV.. no outside influences or distractions – a perfect “time out” to reflect and think.

It cast my mind back 21 years ago when roles were reversed as I lay on a hospital bed in quarantine, due to an illness, which allowed only a few infrequent visitors, my father being the one to attend most. On one particular occasion I was having a bit of a rant at how unfair life was on me….. clearly dismayed at my misguided thoughts and misdirected use of energy, my father bluntly pointed out to me how I may never again get such a period of time to reflect and think about my place in life, what I wanted to achieve and where I was going!

At 23 as I was then, I had been burning both sides of several candles, trying to get out of life far more than I was putting in and as he put it “my mind was writing cheques that my body couldn’t cash”. He encouraged me to reflect and use the time well, and then he used a phrase I’d rarely heard let alone practiced before or only intermittently since.

Enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

 As my father was lying there I was thinking again of that advice, how enduring it was and how it was even more relevant today than it was in 1990.

The definition of the simple pleasures of life may vary slightly from person to person depending on factors such as gender, age, family situation, where you live and indeed your interests but in essence it is the same for everyone. The simple pleasures of life – participating in activities with your family, the company of your friends, sitting in the park or a cafe watching the world go by, walking, running, cycling, reading, listening to music, working in the garden, doing some DIY, achieving small but meaningful goals, the list is almost endless.

In this era where there is an addiction to being entertained, as opposed to entertaining and enjoying oneself, it struck me that we need to constantly remind ourselves of what are the simple pleasures of life and even more importantly resolve to go and enjoy them. In times of financial restraint the simple things are usually free.           The point being we need to make the effort to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and appreciate them more.

I for my part have resolved to enjoy the simple pleasures in life for myself this coming weekend. Something along the lines of the following –

  • Wake up, kiss my wife and thank god for another day.
  • Have a leisurely breakfast in the company of my family, to actually eat while sitting down and chat about the things that are important to the kids.
  • Listen to more music and less news radio
  • Go to my son’s rugby game, appreciate his endeavour, and regardless of result or performance tell him he did brilliant to enjoy the smile it will put on his face.
  • Go for a walk around the English Market and take a stroll around Fitzgeralds Park.
  • Go for a run or cycle down around the Marina on Sunday culminating in a well earned “treat” at the farmers market in Blackrock pier and arrange to meet some friends there.
  • Look over some old photos, reminisce on times gone by.
  • To tackle the garden and sort it out after the winter.
  • Probably the only phrase I remember from studying Peig Sayers for the leaving cert was “ag bothantiocht” which described the practice of visiting neighbours for tea and chat, again something we rarely practice these days. Well at least one of my neighbours will have the pleasure of my company for an hour this week end (whether they like it or not!!)
  • Remind myself to do it all again next week end.

To coin a much used phrase.   The cost of such activity this weekend is about €10.   The value… priceless!!

Simple?

Fachtna O’Mahony is a partner of Quintas

Quintas New Investment Products 2011

January 26, 2011

 

Following on from a successful 2010 Quintas Wealth Management have launched 2 new investment products for Quarter 1 2011

The BRIC Outperformer (Tranche II) eliminates market direction by constructing a relative value strategy where Emerging Markets are expected to outperform the S&P 500 (benchmark for the developed world).  There is strong capital protection with potential early redemptions every 6 months with a 7% (or 14%p.a.) return available.

The Agri-Protector offers clients a 97% capital guaranteed exposure to the soft commodities of Corn, Cotton and Sugar.  There are potential early redemptions every year with a 10% p.a. return available.

Our recent investment successes have provided clients with returns of up to 22% for up to a 12 month investment. This represents a fantastic return for clients, particularly in this difficult environment. Quintas Wealth Management is Ireland’s only financial services firm designing and creating short dated niche products, combining optimal structuring and producing these sort of consistent returns for clients

For brochures on the above and for more detailed information Please click here

Regards

Mark Ryan

Mark is a Director of Quintas and heads up the Business Centre