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Wednesday, 27th March 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What is Modern Risk Theory?

In 1660, Blaise Pascal did some pioneering work on risk. He was dealing with theology, but the implications for the capital markets are unmistakable. His original concern was the expected value of believing in god. He attempted to convert nebulous uncertainties into calculable probabilities - what we now call risk. His "expected values" are the basis of modern risk theory. Pascal demonstrated that uncertainty is about people, their beliefs and their courage, while calculated risk is based on information, knowledge and credible scenarios.

Together with his colleague, Pierre de Fermat, Pascal came to the conclusion that people are naturally risk averse - the more risk is involved with a particular asset, the greater the return that investors will require as compensation. However, many consumers have a skewed perception of the risk they actually are

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Wednesday, 27th March 2013

In response to queries received, the number of hits to the valuation guidance website, letters issued, calls and returns received, Revenue would like to take this opportunity to reiterate some key points and clarify some misleading commentary.

- The Revenue Estimate of LPT included in the letter issuing to property owners is only relevant where some body does not complete and file the LPT return.

- You don't appeal the Revenue Estimate - you simply displace it by completing the return with your own estimate. This means that you self-assess the value of your property, complete the return, select a payment option and send it to Revenue. There is nothing to appeal.

- Don't ignore the return. If you do, Revenue will pursue collection of the Estimate.

- Useful sources of information to help you arrive at the market value of your property include valuation guidance on

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Wednesday, 20th March 2013

John Smiles - Qualified Financial Advisor

Is Cash still king?

Over the last few years, cash has very much been the choice for Irish investors as other assets have been largely avoided. This risk aversion has been driven by investors' experience during the financial crisis of 2008 and the destruction of wealth in its aftermath.

The ‘flight to cash' was aided by the artificially high deposit rates on offer from the Irish banks just as the focus of investors shifted from capital growth to capital preservation. If an investor could get a ‘guaranteed' rate of return of 5% or more from a deposit, they opted for this and effectively postponed an investment decision.

Another refuge for the risk averse, both here and abroad, has been fixed interest funds. J P Morgan says that approximately US$2 trillion has gone into fixed interest funds over the

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Wednesday, 20th March 2013

Leading property website MyHome.ie has launched a new facility on its website which allows users to calculate the property tax they will have to pay on their home.

The ‘Property Tax Estimator' feature allows users to first of all select a suitable range of recently sold properties and For Sale properties from their area. The Estimator then provides a figure for the tax based on an average value of the homes selected.

Users will be able to filter the most suitable properties for comparison purposes by county and locality as well as by house type.

Angela Keegan, Managing Director of MyHome.ie said the new feature was a straightforward 3 step process which would aid homeowners with the self-assessment process.

"Our ‘Property Tax Estimator' allows users to combine information from the Property Price Register with live data from our list of For Sale properties. It

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Wednesday, 20th March 2013

The President of the SCSI Roland O'Connell said it was important that homeowners used all the information available for comparison purposes and arrived at an accurate valuation within the correct band.

"The property valuation determined now will be used for the next 3 years so it is very important that homeowners, who choose to self-assess the value of their homes, do so diligently and comprehensively to avoid any penalties" O'Connell said.

The SCSI said that homeowners should also be aware of a number of exemptions on property tax, including for first time buyers who are exempt until 2016 if they buy this year. Homeowners should consider the tips below before deciding on a valuation:

1. Determine the market value of the property

Any house, apartment or lodge which is habitable and which could be sold separately will be subject to the tax.

The market value

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Wednesday, 20th March 2013

There's bad news for Ireland's motorists again this month as the cost of both petrol and diesel have continued their recent rise at the pumps. A litre of petrol now costs an average of 162.1 cent, up 2.7 cents in the last month. Diesel also rose, up 1.4 cents per litre to an average of 155.1.

"This is certainly disappointing." Says AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. "Fuel prices have been high for so long that we are almost getting used to it. They have nudged down and then up again in recent months but this is at an enormously high level as sky-high Irish taxes are piled on top of rising international prices."

Crude oil prices have been stable and even down slightly in the last month, with Brent crude benchmarked at around $108 on the markets. The Euro vs

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  • OUR VIEW

    Paradise papersOne of the most surprising things about the release of the copious amounts of tax details of some of the richest people on the planet wasn't the names of the people involved but the fact that three of them were actors from Mrs. Brown's Boys. Between them the three had accounts nearing 2 million euros in off-shore accounts and let's face it, these people aren't exactly Robert De Niros or Meryl Streeps but three bog standard, and that's putting it mildly, actors, from a middling comedy serie …

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