Inventor of ‘Celtic Tiger’ phrase bails out of bank job

Kevin Gardiner is credited with first using the term in economic report for Morgan Stanley

Kevin Gardiner is credited with first using the term in a report for Morgan Stanley, forecasting more than a decade of surging economic growth for the country. Photograph: Frank Miller /Irish Times

Kevin Gardiner is credited with first using the term in a report for Morgan Stanley, forecasting more than a decade of surging economic growth for the country. Photograph: Frank Miller /Irish Times

 

The man who coined the term Celtic Tiger has resigned from his role as chief investment officer for Europe at Barclays bank.

Kevin Gardiner is credited with first using the now ubiquitous term in a report for Morgan Stanley back in 1994, forecasting more than a decade of surging economic growth for the country.

The economy expanded at an average rate of 9.4 per cent between 1995 and 2000, fuelled by foreign direct investment most notably in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors.

Even though the economy continued to grow for most of the next decade -averaging rates of 5.9 per cent - it became increasing beholden to a property price bubble which ultimately imploded in the financial crash of 2008.

The Celtic Tiger phrase referred to Ireland’s similarity to the Asian tiger economies of Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea which were undergoing rapid economic expansion.

While it is still used to refer to the boom in general, it fails to distinguish between the export-led expansion of the 1990s and the credit-fuelled boom of more recent times.

Mr Gardiner has worked at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management since September 2009.

He joined Barclays from HSBC Holdings investment- banking unit, where he was global head of equity strategy.

Gardiner has also worked at the Bank of England, according to Barclays’ website. He remains a member of the board of governors of UWC Atlantic College, where he studied.

Gardiner did not immediately respond to attempts to contact him. Kirsty Fitzpatrick, a spokeswoman for Barclays, declined to comment about the bank’s European CIO.

In a post on the company blog earlier this month, Mr Gardiner recommended that pension funds should have a high weighting of equities in their portfolios. “Stocks are the longest-duration investment,” he wrote.

“The growing long-term cash flow provided by dividends is a natural balance to pension liabilities, and remains more stable than stock prices.”

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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