The basis.point Golf Day 2017

On September 22nd, The Panel were delighted to take part in the annual basis.point Golf Day at Milltown Golf Club. This annual event is a great opportunity to network, whilst playing golf with clients and friends.

As one of the patrons of this charitable organisation The Panel was delighted to see so many companies taking part and the good weather definitely lifted everyone’s spirits.

We are also delighted to announce that The Panel team finished runners up on count back! Well done team (Paul Byrne – BNY Mellon, Eoin O’Connor – Lantern/UBS, Jim Ryan – Spirit Motor Group and Seamus Ryan) and a special congrats goes to Paul Byrne of BNY Mellon who landed the longest drive of the competition. 

About basis.point

Basis.point is the Irish Funds industry’s charitable initiative set up to raise awareness and funds for people in need. The charity focuses particularly on young people living in poverty and giving them the opportunity to gain access to education.

To learn more about basis.point and what they do:


SPOTLIGHT: Henrietta Hirst from CitySavvy

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Henrietta Hirst, Managing Director


Company formed in:


Elevator pitch:

We are a full service strategic communications consultancy that specialises in working with investment management sector and financial services firms. We design and execute high-impact, strategic and well-crafted multi-country multi-discipline marketing and media relations campaigns for clients in the UK, Ireland and globally, with an emphasis on accountability and the out-performance of client expectations.

Our distinguishing features are:

  • Our sector focus which results in a deep understanding of the business areas in which our clients operate;
  • Our reverse pyramid structure – senior director support on every client account every day;
  • A deeply thoughtful approach to designing and executing clients’ long term communications campaigns and short term issues management;
  • A high touch intense client service mentality and rapid response;
  • The longevity of our client relationships – 15 years in some cases.

Who would benefit from your service/product?

Investment fund managers, asset allocators, fund distributors and product providers, asset servicing and investment solution providers, consultancies and advisory firms, family offices, investing institutions, banks, brokerages, fin-tech firms.

Biggest achievement in the last 12 months:

In March we were voted by readers of Hedgeweek (20,000 subscribers) as Best Global PR firm for the Hedge Funds.  We grew our business by 37% last year in a highly competitive market.

Plans for the next 12 months:

To grow our business organically and by attracting new senior partners especially those who come with existing books of business but are seeking to work and further grow within an established agency infrastructure and network;

To further extend our advisory capability in new media platforms and social distribution channels; 

To continue to receive a large proportion of our new business referrals from the clients and journalists we work with – recommendations from people who know us well and have direct experience of our value proposition and differentiated approach.

Biggest challenge to your business:

Over-regulation of the asset management and banking industries that will significantly affect our clients’ businesses and budgets

Best advice you can give other business owners:

  • Focus on what you do best and delegate the rest
  • Recognise what is important and be ruthless with how you allocate your time – there are only 168 hours in the week and some of that time must be spent sleeping!
  • In your quest for business recognition, don’t forget your families!
  • Educate and encourage those younger than you in business; be generous with the knowledge you share and help those still seeking to carve their careers:  it’s never been harder graft.

If I was Minister for Finance, the first thing I’d do is:

Personal answer!:  Mandate that all companies and shops turn their lights off at night to save energy and the environment.

Professional answer: Loosen the stranglehold of regulation that is constraining so many aspects of financial services provision, ramping up costs for all parties, eliminating rather than increasing free competition, and ultimately harming rather than benefiting consumers.

Reasons to be cheerful:

Here in the UK we live in a democratic and socially liberal country with free NHS provision; we should never forget how fortunate we are compared to a large part of the world’s population.

t: +44 (0)7880 742 375 | e: [email protected] | |


GUEST BLOG: Best practice for marketing planning in 6 key words

Everything we do requires some form of planning. There are six simple words that should form the basis for one’s approach to any task. They are surprisingly simple, and yet are often overlooked. In today’s increasingly regulated word, these six words can help you focus critically on what you need to do. The words are: What? Why? Who? When? Where? And How? In many instances, the four most important of these will be What, Why, Who and How. Always be absolutely clear on the Why.  But first, let’s consider the context in which these words are so important – the Regulatory context.

Regulations and Codes: We are in an era of burgeoning Regulation, Codes of Conduct, Codes of Practice, Codes of Ethics and costly Compliance, and while all of these have been deemed necessary for consumer protection, good governance and marketing, they too often can become just checklists. They have been assessed as necessary by regulators so as to protect customers from poor practices (e.g., the Central Bank has a precise focus on protecting customers), and also to protect shareholders (just look at the losses to shareholders as a result of the car emissions scandal involving the modification of emission detection systems). And the Advertising Standards Authority (ASAI) also has a focus on protecting customers from misleading advertisements and marketing practices. So any business today needs to be aware of regulation and compliance requirements and these 6 words can help.

Those 6 key words: Let’s now consider the six key elements and what they might involve.

What? What exactly are we proposing to do? What does it do? What problem does it solve? What benefits does it bring or offer? What use is it? Have we thought it through regarding its implications for use by a target client? In the case of a service product which may only come to fruition after a number of years (like a pension plan), have we critiqued the upsides and downsides?

Why? Why should we do it? Why do we want to do it? What purpose does it serve?

Who? Who will actually do it or perform it? Under what circumstances or situations will they do it? Who is it intended for (customer or client)? Will it benefit clients and can we demonstrate that? Is it safe for them?

When? Have we got a prototype of it underway or ready? Have we tested it? Is it adequately and satisfactorily developed? What types of clients is it suited for? All leading to the decision on when you will present the grand plan and the product or service.

Where? Where will the product or service be made available? Through what channels? Will we present it ourselves or we will do it through distributors or agents? Where will we publicise it and how will we do that? What will we say about it or claim about it? Where will it be used or availed of?

How? How will we actually formulate it? How will we promote and deliver it? Through what media or channels? How much will it cost? Have we got the resources needed – money, facilities, skills, expertise?

Things can be very different for the person who has to implement the plan at the coalface as compared to the position of the person who planned it. A company planning a major policy or initiative, which may have varied complexities, needs to prepare well. It needs to think about who is actually going to have to make it happen and how to implement it. Different circumstances can suddenly face the implementer that the planner didn’t envisage or wasn’t aware of. Not to mention the fact that the customer or client may see things very differently.

Remember: Marketing is about satisfying peoples’ needs and wants, so present it clearly to them.

About Ed McDonald

Ed McDonald, Lecturer at the Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT) & Independent Consultant, Marketing, Advertising, Branding, Corporate Governance, Corporate Responsibility, and Ethics.  

Up to his retirement three years ago, was Chief Executive of the Association of Advertisers in Ireland and a Director of the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland, and deeply involved with various media groups such as the Audit Bureau of Circulation and the JNRS and the JNLR.  He had previously been Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute of Ireland, prior to which he had been Chief Executive of The Henry Street Mary Street Shopping Centre Ltd., a public-private partnership aimed at upgrading that part of Dublin city centre. Before that, he worked with Gunne Estate Agents, responsible for its marketing development and general management, and worked with IDA Ireland for almost 20 years in a variety of activities, including a spell promoting Ireland while based in the USA.

He has always been keenly interested in behaviour and ethical practices, reflected in him graduating in 2015 with a Masters degree in Ethics and Corporate Responsibility from Dublin City University. He wrote his Masters degree on applying ethical theories to the Irish banking crisis and how a greater focus on practical ethics might have guided the banks. He holds a Masters in Business Studies degree (wrote his thesis on Branding) and a BA in Economics and Philosophy, as well as the Diploma in Arbitration Law from UCD, and the Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance. He is a Fellow of the Association of Compliance Officers in Ireland (ACOI) and of the Marketing institute of Ireland.

Ed continues a number of part-time teaching and consulting roles. He is a Lecturer at the Institute of Technology Tallaght in Marketing, Advertising, Corporate Governance and Ethics. He also acts as Compliance Adviser for The European Group of Valuers Association (TEGoVA) in Ireland through the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers, and he is a member of the Institute of Banking and a Fellow of the ACOI where he is a member of its Ethics Committee.

t: +353 (0)86 6042456 | e: [email protected] |


GUEST BLOG: Why Cultural Diversity Matters

“Data from our new financial index shows the most diverse and inclusive global businesses often outperform peers.”

Thomson Reuters, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Index.

Increasingly in the world of work we have begun to recognise our many differences. Ranging from what might seem trivial such as recognizing the contrasts between extroverts and introverts to accepting and respecting others’ religion, age, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

The case for diversity acquired its voice primarily through gender diversity and the battle to close the gender pay gap. The case for gender diversity is compelling but many companies still struggle to ensure there is a fair representation of women in leadership. Many proactive companies have gender diversity initiatives to encourage women to be better represented at all levels of the organisation. But gender diversity is complex and multi-faceted, as family commitments and worklife balance are also factors to be taken into account when it comes to increasing women’s representation in business.

More recently cultural diversity is taking a lot of our focus as more and more we are welcoming increased numbers of different cultures into our workplace. While we have opened our arms and welcomed these cultures into our workplaces what we failed to realise is that people from different cultures experience the workplace differently.

Organisations need to develop their cultural competence in an effort to make different cultures feel a sense of belonging which in turn will increase engagement and allow us to benefit from their knowledge and distinct understanding of the world.

Here are a number of factors to take into account to help us understand, communicate and interact with people from different cultures.


When it comes to communication different personalities receive and give information differently, when we bring different cultures into the mix it is inevitable that miscommunication will result. Some cultures are more direct that others, have no fear of conflict and say it as it is. Other cultures will find it more difficult to openly communicate.

Understanding and being aware of cultural differences is a great first step to educating your workforce but it is not enough. Company policies and practices should be put in place to make other cultures feel recognised and have a sense of belonging. Some cultures value relationships more than others while some are more transactional and don’t like to waste time with building relationships. It’s important that the minor cultures are recognised and their habits understood and integrated into the overall company policies.

Schedules and Time

Different cultures can have a different workweek so whether you have different cultures working in the same office or a team working globally it is important to recognise that before demanding coworkers work to your schedule or time lines consideration should be given to instances such as Muslims have Friday as a day of prayer and will have different requirements while observing Ramadam. When it comes to time African and Asian cultures don’t see deadlines as strictly as Americans or Europeans, this can cause a lot of frustration and stress if this is not understood in advance.


Different cultures can have very different views on gender diversity. In Western societies the feminine and masculine roles are very clearly defined yet on the surface women mostly have equal opportunities. The statistics might say otherwise but in comparison to other cultures, there is some sense of equality. In some societies women are predominantly the homemakers and don’t have equal access to education and the workplace.   

The fact is we need to embrace diversity and reap the benefits of a blended workforce. Until recently we lived in an ever flattening world where boundaries were breaking down, while the borderless world has come to a halt with the election of Trump we still need to embrace the variety of people in our workplaces and continue to work together in a fair and open way.

In business, diversity seems natural, as a diverse workforce should be representative of the customers they are serving. A variety of perspectives should also help decision making and problem solving.

“When Deloitte modelled the relationship between diversity and inclusion and business performance, we identified an ‘uplift’ of 80% when both conditions were high.”

Deloitte Australia & the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commision, Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup?

Diversity not only improves a company’s performance but it strengthens employee engagement. People feel more supported and included when diversity and inclusion are on the agenda. 

About Margaret Considine & Ciara Conlon

Margaret Considine is CEO of EQuita Consulting. 

Ciara Conlon is Head of Operations of the EQuita Group, an international keynote speaker and author of Productivity for Dummies. 

‪EQuita Consulting are global experts in delivering Executive Education, Strategic Consulting and Workplace solutions. With specialist expertise in Commercial Negotiation, Mediation, Conflict & Dispute Resolution, Bullying & Harassment Investigations and Personal Productivity. ‬‬‬

t: +353 (0)1 293 4741 | e: [email protected] | |


GUEST BLOG: 6 key questions for your company pension manager

More and more employees are starting to ask questions of their pension savings plan. If your company has a pension plan, whether you are a member of the plan or not, you should know exactly how that pension is performing to help you plan for your future.

There are two types of pension savings plan you could be a member of: (1) a ‘Defined Benefit’ (DB) Plan or (2) a ‘Defined Contribution’ (DC) Plan.

DB plans are where a company makes a promise to its employees to provide a portion of their final salary as a pension income when they retire. Retirement is usually designed to be at age 65. When you leave the company most pension plans give you the option of a tax- free lump. It’s up to the company pension trustees to manage the pension plan to meet the promise to the employees. There has been a significant reduction in the number of DB schemes in operation. Many of the existing DB schemes are closed to new members. The benefits promised in DB schemes by employers are proving harder to keep than originally planned.

DC plans are pension savings plans that don’t have a company promised benefit at retirement. Depending on how well your savings are invested will dictate what income and tax- free lump sum you’ll be able to take from your pension savings when you retire.

To know how your company pension plan is serving you, here are 6 key questions to ask the managers of your pension plan;

  1. Is my plan Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution?
  2. What charges do I pay on my pension savings account?
  3. How much in today’s terms should I expect to receive from my pension?
  4. What type of assets are my pension savings invested in?
  5. What yearly return are you assuming the pension plan will achieve?
  6. If I leave employment can I bring my pension savings with me?

Employees must get involved and understand how well their pension savings are being managed. The answers to these questions will help with that. This will help pension savers to plan for the future and have more control and peace of mind to achieve their financial goals.

About Enda Brady

Enda Brady is a A Certified Financial Planner professional with 20 years experience in Financial Services and Personal Financial Planning. He is the co-owner of iQ Financial formed in 2005.  

mob: +353 (86) 419 2239 | e: [email protected]


The Panel ladies team take part in the corporate #GT5K Team Challenge in the Docklands

On Wednesday 6th September, we were delighted to put a team together and run on behalf of IACT (the Irish Association of Corporate Treasurers) at the Grant Thornton Corporate 5K Team Challenge in Dublin Docklands (#GT5K), whilst raising much needed funds for “The Make-A-Wish Foundation”.

Big thanks and well done to Shauna, Anastasia and Ailbhe who did a great job and ended up taking home the “Fastest ladies team” prize!!

We’d also like to thank IACT for inviting us to take part and for their contribution to the chosen event charity.

Go #TeamThePanel!!!