Upcoming Investment Opportunity

I had missed this yesterday but it’s worth flagging for our readers in search of an investment bargain.

PENSION funds will be able to buy 30-year bonds at an interest rate of around 5pc, in a move that could ease funding difficulties for schemes. To be known as sovereign annuities, the new bonds may also lessen the liabilities in pension funds … Buying the likes of “safe” German 10-year bonds yields only 3pc, which does little to ease the funding difficulties in pensions … Director of funding at the National Treasury Management Agency Oliver Whelan told a conference yesterday there will also be an inflation-linked version of these bonds … Mr Whelan insisted that there was no default risk for pension funds buying Irish sovereign bonds, despite repeated questions from a number of trustees about such a risk … Mr Whelan insisted that no western country had defaulted since West Germany in 1948.

In a related development, Irish pension funds are soon to be offered shares in a well-known New York bridge. Apparently, it’s a tremendous investment opportunity.

60 thoughts on “Upcoming Investment Opportunity”

  1. Why has it taken until now to offer index-linked bonds? Who prevented this from happening a long time ago?

  2. Is there collusion between pension managers and the state?

    Am I correct in thinking that the pension fund managers negotiated that there should be a levy on existing pension funds rather than a reduction in the tax exemption for pension contributions?

    Talk about “other people’s money” and “moral hazard”! They are giving away the money they are supposed to be protecting and managing in order to keep the incentives high for more people to invest in their funds.

    They now propose handing over pension-holders cash to the state.

    I know pension holders have probably been unfairly protected at the expense of the tax payer but agreeing with the state to buy bonds nobody else wants appears to be close to robbery.

    The pension fund managers should tell the state that if they want to rob private pensions then the state should legislate to do so.

  3. I’d have no hesitation in having my money invested in these. An interest rate of around 5%, when inflation is under 1%, seems a hell of a good deal. I will consult my Ulster Bank financial advisor in Belfast next week and ask him to look into it. He’s an Orangeman, a member of the Black Preceptory, a member of Dr Paisley’s church, and a DUP voter. So, that means he’s a lot less anti-Irish than the average Dublin 4 media/academic type, and may well look favourably on my suggestion.

    If others feel different, that is absolutely fine. It is a free country. But, they can stop moralising and sneering about it. Let them stick their money where they feel it will bring them the greatest return. If they prefer to invest in UK government bonds, where inflation is 5% and interest rates 1%, rather than in Irish government bonds, where inflation is 1% and interest rates 5%, by all means let them do so. I shall enjoy seeing my investments grow at a much more rapid rate than their’s in the years ahead.

    All investments are gambles. All investments are risks. Quite often the best investments are made when one goes against the media consensus. I made a nice little profit on the Ireland v England rugby match last weekend, although the vast majority of media ‘experts’ predicted England to win.

    As I have said before, why don’t all the economists and economic commentators, like McWilliams, tell us where they have invested their money. Then, we can see in 10 years how well their investments did compared with those of us who take up this kind of offer.

    There are two reasons why one might not want to invest in these bonds: (a) fear that Ireland will have to exit the euro and devalue (b) fear that Ireland will default. A year ago, (a) was all the rage among the know-all sneering media ‘experts’. McWilliams wrote numerous articles saying that Ireland’s exports were collapsing and that Ireland would have to exit the euro and devalue to restore competitiveness. I posted here at the time that it was hogwash. Events proved me correct. Exports rose by almost 10% in 2010, compared with D of Finance, Central Bank and ESRI forecasts that they would fall. No one argues any longer that the economy is uncompetitive and that a devaluation is necessary to enable exports to grow. So, that option is gone.

    That leaves the default option as the main weapon in the armoury of the media sneerers. Don’t invest in Irish government bonds, they scream. Put your money in a relatively safe investment, like a nuclear power station in Fukushima, they cry.

    There is nothing that can be posted here to convince anyone that these bonds are a good investment. It is all a matter of one’s psychology. If you are scared of flying, don’t fly. If you are cared of the dark, keep the light on. If you think that Ireland will have to devalue or default, don’t touch these bonds with a bargepole because, even if you are proved wrong and Ireland doesn’t have to devalue or default, the extra income that you would derive from investing in them, as compared with investing in UK bonds, will not compensate for all the sleepless nights you will have, all the Sunday morning panic attacks you will have when reading McWilliams latest ravings in the Business Post, all the cardiac arrest you will suffer every time Morgan Kelly writes an Irish Times article telling you that your pension is down the drain. It is just not worth it, frankly.

  4. @JTO

    It is all a matter of one’s psychology. If you are scared of flying, don’t fly. If you are cared of the dark, keep the light on. If you think that Ireland will have to devalue or default, don’t touch these bonds with a bargepole

    The issue is that fund managers are investing other people’s money. Generally these people do not keep a very close eye on what their fund managers do. In many cases they may not be entitled to take their money out or to direct that such bonds be avoided.

    I wouldn’t know where to put my money to avoid risk. There is inflation in the UK and question marks over a lot of European banks. These bonds may be a good deal. I just don’t like the thought of financial agents who have let us down so badly now doing a deal withthe Govt to give them other people’s money. That is not to say I wouldn’t buy 30 year inflation linked Irish Govt bonds with a 5% yield myself. I just don’t like pension fund managers! Blame John Kay, author of the The Long and The Short of It if you must.

  5. @Zhou, the Irish association of pension funds, the industry body, has publicly railed against the pension levy, not lobbied for it.

    There is a wider context to this bond buying scam. Pension funds are being told to sell equities and buy bonds by their expensive consultants. This stunning advice comes after a decade of lousy equity returns and stellar bond returns (in most countries). So, say all these genius consultants, that is what will also happen, going forward. And many pension funds, yours probably, are buying bonds. The Irish government could sell these people the Brooklyn bridge several times over.

  6. @ simpleton

    I saw a video on one prominent Irish consultant site advising Pension Trustees to invest in “emerging market” *aka Third World* bonds which “offer solid returns”. Until the EM story turns sour.

  7. @ JTO

    Well where do I start?

    ‘I’d have no hesitation in having my money invested in these. An interest rate of around 5%, when inflation is under 1%, seems a hell of a good deal.’

    If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Bank shares 04 – 08?

    ‘I will consult my Ulster Bank financial advisor in Belfast next week and ask him to look into it.’

    Another failed bank, the UKs Anglo Irish.

    ‘He’s an Orangeman, a member of the Black Preceptory, a member of Dr Paisley’s church, and a DUP voter.’

    An obvious a person to consult for an un-biased view of anything.

    ‘So, that means he’s a lot less anti-Irish than the average Dublin 4 media/academic type, and may well look favourably on my suggestion.’

    Fantastic analysis and conclusion – well done.

    By the way congratulations on the bet – great wasn’t it? (-:

  8. This initiative would go a decent way to restoring some kind of balance in the debt ownership situation. Most other countries see their pension/insurance funds have a significant allocation to bonds issued by their own government, and invest in foreign governments mainly as a diversification/return enhancement exercise. The main reason Italy can get away with a debt/GDP level as high as ours is projected to be is that their domestic institutions buy their own state bonds in size.

    Obviously, the longer the term the better, so this is all to the good; I second Colm’s point above, and I would add that despite the NTMA’s propaganda to the contrary, one of the reasons the situation has become so desperate is the redemption burden over the next 3-5 years caused by the absence of any meaningful issuance beyond ten years (just one recently-issued security).

  9. @JTO
    But why not just buy Government bonds? The rate is a lot higher for the same risk?

    Could this be the quid pro quo from the pension industry who would have tried to pressure government into not burning any bondholders?

    The comments from Mr. Whelan are breathtaking.

    But for an even more remarkable view of reality from people trying desperately to return the status quo while passing blame to others this one takes some beating.
    http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/property-council-searching-for-property-owners-to-take-landmark-case-498517.html

  10. Eamonn Moran: “But why not just buy Government bonds? The rate is a lot higher for the same risk?”

    Shhh! Let the man do what he wants!

  11. @JTO

    If you want to buy these 30-year bonds then you should by all means feel free to do that. Every one that gets sold is a result for the Irish taxpayer.

    The issue as I see it from above is that a 5% yield is out of whack with what the market demands for exposure to Irish sovereign default risk. So the purchaser of these bonds will immediately face a mark-to-market loss on their investment. If these purchasers are private investors like yourself then that’s just fine, it’s your money so do what you like. However, pension managers have a duty of care not to invest in securities that will make them an immediate loss – one would expect the government/regulators to try and prevent this behavior rather than actively encouraging it.

    I know that marking the value of investments to what they are actually worth is not the flavor of the month in Europe, but the unfortunate reality is that Irish government bonds are not worth par today and the government could only issue safer, 10-year paper at twice the 5% rate. In my opinion, these bonds will probably pay the principal and interest as expected, but that doesn’t make them a good risk-weighted investment and it’s the risk part that results in a net transfer of wealth from pension holders to the government.

  12. I’m surprised by the very tame comments thus far.
    This one is a no brainer . Buy today and it is worth less than 50% face value tomorrow.

  13. Simpleton,

    what is more these same consultants are encouraging trustees to buy truck loads of bunds. Does anybody think these might be a bit overpriced on a relative basis because of what is going on in the Eurozone. Sure the Euro might break up and the DM appreciate against all refugee countries…that is probably in the price. What is not in the price is the destruction of the German bank capital and pensions due to the same breakup and attendant sovereign defaults.

  14. @Karl

    There was an interesting ‘trading floor’ session with Larry Fink and Robert Kapito on CNBC yesterday. All such interviews have to be parsed for PR and puffery but Fink referred several times to the European difficulties, mentioning Ireland by name among others, and talked in terms of many many years for things to come right. He identified the problem in terms of ‘sovereign credits being held by the banks’ and until this predicament was resolved, BlackRock wouldn’t be buying. Taking his comments at face value one implication is that Ireland (others affected) will be excluded from the bond market until many years come to pass.

  15. @ Certeris paribus

    It’s even better than that… it’s an attempt by the government to shift losses off the sovereign balance sheet and on to pension funds. This scheme works well as long as the pension funds continue to hold the bonds to maturity so they never take the mark-to-market hit.

    This scheme worked well at Lehman Brothers (repo 105) and Enron for a several years, so I guess there’s no problem in keeping it going in Ireland for 30.

  16. @Edward
    The guys in the NTMA are (were) a bright bunch so I have to assume there is more to it than meets the eye. Confiscation by another route-Argentina.
    For grannies and orphans the dealers in Moore St. Will operate a grey market. Bag of oranges thrown in with every deal.

  17. @Ceteris paribus

    The ten-year is already pricing in a 42ish% haircut from 2013. If there is to be a 50% haircut, the downside on an NPV basis as compared with German bunds is about 8%. Any haircut less than 40% means a NPV profit. Clearly there will be some investors who find that a reasonable trade-off.

  18. As somebody who will depend on these funds that have lost approx 8% of everything put into it since 2003, I sure hope this is a bit more kosher than what Mr Justice Moriarty was dealing with. I remain suspicious. In fact I know that bank director responsible for the losses is still in situ and no doubt still being handsomely rewarded.

    Nevertheless, it makes no sense for the State to subsidise pension contributions with a 41% input tax break and freedom from Income Tax and CGT (if any G) within the fund, only to see the money whisked away to do some other State some service.

    So like @Ceteris, I remain suspicious. It is a common feeling amongst the economically illiterate.

  19. @Igsy
    I think we are at cross purposes. My point on the new thingee bonds is with a rate of 5% versus 10.02% on 10yr currently, you immediately are disadvantaged and the theoretical value is less than half.

    As for the perpetual version they propose to issue- how do you value this. You never get your money back and depend on coupons that can be stopped/cancelled under new ESM haircutting schemes.

    Even the inflation linked version (no yield announced) are bound to be heavily discounted on account of the plight of the sovereign and potential future haircutting.

    Despite the assurance by Mr. Whelan that NO RISK exists, I think I will stick with the Wall Street Ponsi scheme (as Bernie Madoff described it)

  20. @ Eamonn/Ceterus

    the quid pro quo is that you get to change the discount rate to the Irish annuity bond rather than the German Bund, but only if you buy the annuity bond rather than the straight Irish govvie (ie the 9% yielder). Changing the discount rate to 5% vs 3.25% (Bund) closes a very large funding hole.

  21. As others have already mentioned..why would I or my pension fund buy 30 yr bonds with a 5% yield when I can buy 10 yr bonds with a 10% yield? Both having, presumably, the same default risk.

    I’d have 60% of the return in only 30% of the time and could surely reinvest in something that gave me at least the required 2.5% yield over the remaining 20 years. Now I get that it’s nice to match liability and asset maturities, but it’d need to be really important before I’d agree to sit underwater for most of the maturity.

  22. @ Bond. Eoin Bond

    That’s fair, there is a paper gain to be had by both sides, but it’s still an accounting trick driven by the treatment of hold-to-maturity assets vs. fair value.

    If they really want to clear the pension funding hole, the regulator can just let them buy US high yield, which is yielding about 7%… since the concept of default risk no longer applies, it’ll fix the whole problem!

  23. … no western country had defaulted since West Germany in 1948′

    !

    I’m out of my depth here – but this is some strange justification at present time around here.

  24. @Edward

    “If they really want to clear the pension funding hole, the regulator can just let them buy US high yield, which is yielding about 7%… since the concept of default risk no longer applies, it’ll fix the whole problem!'”

    Problem is the euro keeps appreciating against the dollar despite all the problems in euroland.

  25. @DOD
    Interesting chart
    Table 1.1
    Selected government defaults and restructurings of privately held bonds and loans,
    1820–2004
    Default or restructuring clusters

    Europe
    Austria 1868 1914 1932
    Bulgaria 1915 1932
    Greece 1824 1893
    Germany 1932
    Hungary 1931
    Italy 1940
    Moldova 2002
    Poland 1936 1981
    Portugal 1834 1892
    Romania 1915 1933 1981
    Russiaa 1917 1998
    Serbia/
    Yugoslavia
    1895 1933 1983
    Spaina 1831 1867,
    1882
    Turkey 1876 1915 1940 1978
    Ukraine 1998 2000

    It seems Germany did not default in 1948… was that the time of Marshall Aid?

  26. @Eamonn Moan
    @Ceteris Paribus
    @The Alchemist
    @Ahura Mazda
    @Ordinary Man

    By the way congratulations on the bet – great wasn’t it? (-:

    JTO again:

    Thank you. If you are referring to my bet on last Saturday’s rugby match, I have allready pocketed the money and am going out tonight to spend it. If you are referring to my bet on economic growth between the same two contestants, that I mentioned on the other thread, I’m afraid that one may have to be resolved in the courts, possibly even the House of Lords, since, based on GDP, I lost, but, based on GNP, I won.

    Would any of the above-listed gentlemen like to tell us where they have invested their money, so we can see how well it does in coming years compared with this bond? I respect their privacy, so not the actual amounts, just the percentages. I suspect that a number of people sneering at this bond offer have money invested in UK bonds since 2007, and are sitting on a hefty loss, thanks to negative real interest rates of minus 3-4%, and a 20% sterling devaluation into the bargain.

  27. @JtO – “So, that means he’s a lot less anti-Irish than the average Dublin 4 media/academic type, and may well look favourably on my suggestion.”

    The reason those anti-Irish media/academic types can afford to live in D4 is because they are smart enough to avoid investments like this and put their money elsewhere?

  28. @Joseph

    The reason those anti-Irish media/academic types can afford to live in D4 is because they are smart enough to avoid investments like this and put their money elsewhere?

    JTO again:

    Well, that’s what I want to know, Joseph. Can they tell us where their investments are and how they are faring, so we can all decide whether or not to follow them. They seem remarkably reluctant to share their wise investment decisions with us less fortunate people. With my investments where they are, which is unlikely to be where their’s are, I too could afford to buy a house in Dublin 4. However, I’d prefer to buy one in Ireland.

  29. @ceteris paribus

    Ta for that. No expert on pension funds, recognise that is a huge issue, and certainly makes sense to keep dosh at home ……

    but markets on Irish @+10% are screaming restructure/default due to conflation of bank debt with sovereign … and one cannot find anyone to claim that greece or portugal able to avoid a restructure and possibly spain ……. an unusual slip from the usually more than savvy NTMA …. on 1948 and ‘no’ western country ………

  30. @DOD
    Interesting that Germany did not default in 1948. Now Mr. Whelan should have his facts straight as he attempts to unload truckloads of funny bonds backed by the full credit of little old Ireland.

    Also interesting that the Austrians were serial defaulters.

  31. @JtO
    I live in D4, although I certainly can’t afford a house there. Meantime, my assets are in Euro but I’d point out that you can have assets in Euro without having assets in Ireland. Now, in terms of investing I have practically no Euro at all so it makes no difference either way but if I had a lot I might be wise to consider having them outside Ireland.

    Other than that, talking to some friends in the autumn they suggested putting money in NOK and/or USD in case the Euro did something odd. Euro is up against the dollar and perhaps a little down against the NOK so it would probably have been a bad move on balance. Those German bankers and their strong currencies, eh? As for the future, who knows?

  32. Re Germany 1948, the reference is probably to this, from Reinhart and Rogoff, pg 114:

    “June 30, 1948: Monetary reform limited each person to 40 D-mark, along with partial cancellation and blocking of all accounts.”

  33. I get the impression that JTO’s satire is too subtle for some readers. He banks with Ulster Bank, Belfast, so he’s actually not at risk in the event of an Irish default. It’s only if Her Majesty’s FSCS does the dirty on him that he stands to lose.

  34. With all this ‘investor’ talk about where to put surplus money, it seems to me that the exchequer could squeeze a bit more from the seeding lemons as distinct from reducing the blind person’s allowance.

  35. @Joseph Ryan

    Blind Biddy concurs (-;

    @Colm McCarthy

    Was that another rhetorical question? No response …

    @ceteris paribus what about Finland? They are also very techy at the mo? As techy as Austrians.

  36. @DOD

    “what about Finland?” Yes they are techy but I think it is genetic.
    \They are all gone home with nothing much achieved other than a bit of can kicking until June.
    Next big event Stress Thursday – I am going for 20b – any takers.

  37. Wasn’t this done by the UK by issuing 2.5% perpetuals in 1946 and as the only new issuance at the time became the only bond available?
    Also, don’t pension funds value their assets and liabilities on an accruals basis and not mark to Market?
    This could yet happen and could in some similar form by the ‘default’ that is inevitable throughout much of the eu.

  38. @Ash

    “This could yet happen and could in some similar form by the ‘default’ that is inevitable throughout much of the eu”

    The wily Warren is with you=”Warren Buffett told CNBC Thursday that the collapse of the euro zone’s single currency is far from “unthinkable.”
    “You can’t have three or four or five countries that are in effect free-riding on the other countries. That won’t work over time—they have to get their fiscal houses in reasonable harmony,” he said.

  39. @Ash ‘= on perpetuals.

    UK war bonds were issued before World War One, and then another tranche in 1932.

    Around £2bn was invested in the bonds, mainly by small investors. More than 60 years after the end of the World War Two, the Government doesn’t seem interested in repaying them, despite a promise that the bonds would be redeemable at some point after 1952.

    When Ed Balls announced at the end of last year that the last of the country’s war debts to the US and Canada had finally been repaid, there were hopes that ordinary people might also get their money back.

    No such luck. “We’re not ruling it out at some point in the future,” says a Treasury spokesman, “But there are no plans to do so at the moment.”

    The interest rate was initially 5 per cent, but was later slashed to 3.5 per cent by Neville Chamberlain. The value of the bonds has also been savagely eroded by inflation.

    Barge poles come to mind.

  40. @ceteris parabus

    Thanks for providing the full facts.

    It shows it can be done, even by ripping off the survivors as part of a ‘war effort’.

    It will allow a ‘soft default’ but what happens if the pension fund money isn’t enough?

  41. If it sounds too good to be true!

    OPM me once, shame on you. OPM me twice shame on me!

    Buy paper, it will never let you down! Paper promises show increases annually!

    Paper never refused ink …….

  42. All you need to do is add a stricter clause to the pension fund regulations about matching liabilities etc etc and you have an element of compulsion. Then the ntma just only issue these new 30 years and nothing else and everyone is a winner. Sort of. There’s the default that dare not speak its name.

  43. @ CP

    on stress tests – i reckon it’ll be 10bn (ie the stuff supposed to already be in there) plus another 18bn more, so 28bn in total. ECB and EU compromises mean that this amount will never actually be injected though, a much smaller amount will be. That may have been the point of coming up with such a horror number, in my view, if you get the drift? 😉

  44. @Eoin

    “Changing the discount rate to 5% vs 3.25% (Bund) closes a very large funding hole.”

    Picking a discount rate has always been a fudge. The most ridiculous ones I know of have been applied to insurance company “investment bonds” encashed early. Opaque doesn’t even come close.

    Should you recommen a pension fund to over pay for an asset in exchange for an accounting wheeze to measure the liabilities it was covering with a stretched tape measure? Doubt it- without a quid pro quo like that suggested at the end of this comment.

    @All

    Starting with a cut and paste from this discussion yesterday:

    “As for the coupon only version – who in their right mind would buy these – in fact who in their right mind would buy any of them.”

    Answer in the article:

    “All will be available through all the stockbrokers in the Irish market. The bonds will be issued on a demand-only basis as buy and hold investments, with no secondary market.”

    There was a time when self respecting stockbrokers would be able to look beyond the incentive of a fee for acting as salesman for a product with no market price to reveal to clients its shortcomings. This one – described as being without default risk – appears to be pre-mis-sold in any case.

    Ireland has obviously changed its financial regulatory spots less than might have been expected.

    …And moving on.

    This is actually much more profound than being some dodgy looking pitch to get some funding. It raises all sorts of questions.

    Some people who have been standing to close to themselves fantasize that you can do a cut and paste job for Ireland of Krugman & Co’s arguments about deficit spending in the USA. This seems then to be passed off as exclusive economic literacy.

    Cut and paste thinking can be dangerous though. Some, quite a few actually, have misunderstood the US situation – failing to realise that private sector deleveraging leads to demand shortages but bigger savings demand. Its not just an argument that if the private sector won’t spend, then the state is the only alternative to counter that – its also an argument that if the private sector won’t borrow the savings people are making, then the government can step in and do the borrowing.

    US savings are not tempted away fro Treasuries by bigger, more credit worthy neighbouring economies in an economic and currency union also issuing dollar denominated debt.

    The US is also quite a bit bigger than Ireland and has a central bank that can print however much it likes of the reserve currency – so default as such is not a factor in investment choices.

    Conning, compelling, incentivising with accounting tricks is a non too elegant way of trying to get round this reality. Maybe its time for the state to try a fundamentally different strategy regarding reality.

    If not, maybe the financial engineering should be extended more widely to do the job properly. There are other ways of honoring obligations – or in the case of CP, non-obligations – than with actual cash Euros.

    Would Bertie be able to muddle by with part of his pension paid in Euros and part in promissory notes?

  45. @Tull
    “Does anybody think these [bunds] might be a bit overpriced on a relative basis because of what is going on in the Eurozone.”
    Not on a relative basis, but on an absolute basis. The ECB’s inflation target is 2% or thereabouts. 3.25% is hardly much of a return on a long-run target when you take taxes and costs into consideration. It also requires belief that the ECB is entirely in control of inflation. With the best will in the world, the best they can hope to do is influence inflation expectations in the eurozone. While the eurozone market is large, is it large enough to influence inflation expectations globally? I don’t think so.

  46. @Grumpy

    “Picking a discount rate has always been a fudge.”

    Have you been following Solvency 2 ? The EU is pushing everyone in the direction of bonds since Govs are risk free .

  47. @seafóid

    My understanding is that there was a ceiops preference for no illiquidity premia a year or so ago – but that has gone. So the calculations are more “industry friendly”.

    I think there is still a debate about the appropriate “risk-free” rate – swap rates generally preferred by the industry, bunds by those who want to emphasise “risk-free”.

    Anyway, this is about agreeing a common tape-measure. That will not correlate to a metre long piece of metal in Paris or wherever it is kept though. It is not fundamentally meaningful – you have to use your judgement / powers of guesswork in any case to decide how much to take it as a meaningful measure of solvency.

    I wonder whether what the Ntma are doing here is trying to extricate themselves from bund rates and prevent the theoretical extrapolation of the term curve at the same time – using these new bonds. Looks odd to me in the current context.

  48. @Grumpy
    “I wonder whether what the Ntma are doing here is trying to extricate themselves from bund rates and prevent the theoretical extrapolation of the term curve at the same time – using these new bonds.”

    That is a bit highfalutin for me. A simpler explanation may be they are operating the TIOBEM theory.

  49. Forget about all those Bunds/Bonds and stuff like that. Karl planted the germ of an idea
    and after considerable research a worthy bridge financing project was identified. It is the Gravina Island Bridge which, unfortunately, ran into a bit of financing problems. Sarah initially supported it but went a bit wobbly when she went to a tea party. It is a risk free project -the bridge will be nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge. As the bridge will always be there, you can go and look at the collateral anytime. As it goes nowhere it is bound to be a sure fire thing as tourists flock to it from all over the world. The highway leading to the bridge site is already in place so no need for money there.
    Design work is already done. We are thinking of issuing Nonredeemable Cumulative Eternity Bridge Bonds with an initial coupon of 7.5% rising to 12% after 30 years when revenue should be flowing quite strongly. Please note that although it is a risk free product we do not intend to market it to grannies or orphans. All pension funds are welcome and this intended offering should go a long way to filling their funding hole.

  50. I am reminded of all those Italian pensioners who bought Gov’t of Argentina Sovereign Bonds prior to 2001. These were distributed by some of the highly respected Italian banks as denominated in US$ and backed by all the natural resources of Argentina. At a time when 3% was a good return in Europe 8% was available on the safer than safe Argentinian Bonds. Then one fine morning in 2001 the bottom fell out and the bonds were worth 33.33% of their face value. I hope that these irish bonds will not be used to impoverish Irish Pensioners desperate for a reasonable rate of return. Our banks and brokerages are sleazy enough to go for the high commission required to market toxic paper.

  51. @ JTO

    “All investments are gambles. All investments are risks.”

    Except of course when you are bondholder investing in Irish Banks…..

  52. “…no western country had defaulted since West Germany in 1948…” That is until you get to be the one to break the cycle. Banking on luck in the financial sector is commonplace that is why sometimes it is referenced to be a casino like institution.

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