Cum-ex ‘reputational’ concerns, fragile consumer sentiment and current account options

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Some 60% of Irish consumers have increased their focus on savings and prices in the past six months, a PwC survey has found. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Some 60% of Irish consumers have increased their focus on savings and prices in the past six months, a PwC survey has found. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins


Department of Finance officials raised concerns that evidence of Irish involvement in a multi-billion euro fraudulent financial trading scheme would pose a “reputational” issue for Ireland, internal emails show. Jack Power reports that the scheme, known as cum-ex, involved a network of traders, hedge funds, asset managers and banks claiming multiple refunds on dividend withholding tax that was only paid once, or not at all, through a complex series of trades. The trades are estimated to have cost European tax authorities billions of euros over two decades.

Consumer sentiment remains fragile, according to PwC, with more than half of Irish consumers expecting little change in their level of spending over the next six months compared to the previous six months. Laura Slattery has examined the accountancy giant’s consumer insight pulse survey, which questioned 9,370 across 29 territories – including more than 500 in the Republic – found 60 per cent of Irish consumers expect to spend the same on Christmas presents in 2021 as they did last year.

The number of mortgages approved in quantity and value fell in October but remained higher than pre-pandemic levels.Figures from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) show a total of 4,568 mortgages were approved last month, down 4 per cent on the previous month and 12 per cent on the same month last year. Some 2,533 (55 per cent) were for first-time buyers while mover purchasers accounted for 1,076 (23.6 per cent).

A Dublin-based former Accenture management consultant has raised more than €300,000 from high-end European winemakers to fund an online wine sales service that is aiming to sign up as many as 10,000 Irish subscribers. Eamon FitzGerald, has already signed up more than 1,000 subscribers each paying €10 per month for access to WineSpark. Mark Paul has the details.

With both Ulster Bank and KBC Bank in the process of withdrawing from the Irish market, hundreds of thousands of banking customers are going to be in the market for a new current account provider over the coming year.If you’re one of them, Fiona Reddan outlines your options.

Today’s Me and Money features Connaught Rugby player Denis Buckley who says that “on or off the pitch I don’t know what my future holds”.

This week’s Q&A features parents who are worried that having their son’s name on property deeds could disenfranchise their daughter – Dominic Coyle advises on how joint ownership of property can have unintended consequences.

Dominic also advises a freelance worker wondering if mortgage lenders will take into account his plan to have income under rent-a-room relief when they are determining borrowing limits.

You can read all of today’s Stocktakes on Turkey’s Erdogan fighting a losing economic battle; US stocks trading higher than international markets; and why Big Business has not gone “hard left”, here.

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