Ireland ‘could cope’ with euro break-up

There is less than a 10% probability that the euro will break up, but if it did corporate Ireland would be able to cope with the fallout, says Tiarnan O’Mahoney, head of Moneycorp in Ireland.

Moneycorp is a foreign exchange specialist that has been around since 1979. It is a fully-owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland and is headquartered in London. Mr O’Mahoney set up the Dublin office earlier this year along with another former Anglo executive, Bryan McSharry.

Mr O’Mahoney was tipped to take over from Sean Fitzpatrick as CEO of Anglo Irish Bank, but instead stepped down in 2005.

The Irish foreign exchange market is worth roughly €200bn annually and the pair would like to have cornered 1% of this by the end of 2015. As it stands, they have bagged just under 100 clients.

“Our clients come from the entire cross section. There is a plc, an importer with a turnover of €1m each year and another company that does €800m of foreign exchange every year.”

The plan is to give clients a choice when it comes to the foreign exchange market. “A lot of companies want a second supplier. Most of then will have an established relationship with their bank, but there is a gap in the market for a second supplier as Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Scotland are no longer there. And we are a foreign exchange specialist.

“We have got a disproportionate amount of business from Cork. Maybe it is because of we have two members of staff from there — Eoin Walsh is from Blackrock and Andy Daly is from Bishopstown.”

He points out that when companies use foreign exchange facilities at their bank, they can often use up credit lines extended by the same bank. Consequently, it makes more sense to use a second supplier, he says.

All Moneycorp back office functions are done out of the London office and “the economies of scale that offers”, he explains.

All the front office and trading activities are done out of Dublin. Clients have access to research supplied by the firm. Moreover, all clients have access to the firm’s online trading platform, which includes the ability to make direct payments to third-party clients.

An unprecedented level of action by the ECB has brought some calm to the eurozone debt crisis. But concerns still linger that the single currency will once again come under pressure unless further reform measures are taken. However, it is highly unlikely that the euro will unravel.

Mr O’Mahoney was behind the investment vehicle, ISTC, which was a high-profile victim of the early days of the credit crunch in 2008.


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