Tag Archives | Bank Of Ireland

Buying wine, art and classic cars is spending your cash, not investing

There are rules in place which prevent many media commentators and journalists from tipping stocks. That’s why, we see so many ridiculous suggestions as to where we should invest our money.

On Twitter recently I have been critical of journalists who helpfully suggest that we spend any recently gained additional wealth on buying wine, art, coins, classic cars and other such nonsense in the name of “investing”. As far as I’m concerned, buying a classic car is spending your money (and possibly lots more with upkeep, maintenance, insurance and running costs), not “investing”.

These journalists and others have to delve deep in the bottom of the personal finance barrel of top tips to source these alternative “investment” tips because they’re not allowed take up their weekly 500 words telling us to invest in Apple, or Microsoft, or whatever the stock market flavour of the month is. Alternatively, the go-to tip for many of these journalists is to “buy gold”.  (Gold isn’t a regulated product like stock market shares, and I’ll come back to this gold buying nonsense sometime soon).

Market Abuse Directive

The Market Abuse (Directive 2003/6/EC) Regulations 2005, sets out what are known as accepted market practices for how organisations involved in the stock markets are expected to behave in order to prevent insider dealing and market manipulation (i.e. market abuses).

One effect of this directive is that it prevents pretty much anyone that isn’t employed by a regulated financial services firm from tipping stock market shares. So, someone working for one of the top stockbrokers can do so because they have the research capabilities of their organisation behind them.

However, given that Joe Journalist doesn’t have the same backing, he or she can’t just publish a stock market investing tip based on just a hunch or a tip.

Investing in Molycorp in May 2013 was not a good ideaDon’t always believe what you read in the papers

Here’s a perfect example of why we’re being protected in this way. For the purposes of this tale, assume we’re back some time around May 5th, 2013. This article snippet shows up in a popular Sunday newspaper.

On this day, our fearless journalist told us that Molycorp – a company where the share price had fallen in two years from €70USD to €6USD – was possibly about to experience a turn in their cycle (according to anonymous unnamed tipsters).

Wow! Imagine. Given that past performance must obviously be a guide here to future performance, I could have bought that stock back in 2013 for €6USD and surely it’ll get back up to the original €70USD very quickly. In fact, it’s more than 3 years now, so surely I’d be rich already based on that advice.

And even better, because of a “kind of volatility who knows where they will end up”, I should definitely stay away from Apple. It went from €700USD 6 months previous to that article and was now trading at a measily €575USD.

Molycorp is a rare earths producer. It operates in the Resources, Chemicals and Oxides, Magnetic Materials and Alloys and Rare Metals segments. Easy enough stuff to understand – surely the tipsters do.

Fair enough, because it’s in the papers, it must be true. Dear Mr. Stockbroker, I’ll have €10,000 worth of Molycorp. In 3 years, based on the numbers above, I should have at least €100,000.

Hell of a Hunch

As of close of business May 3rd, 2016, my investment in Molycorp is worth a princely €91. Yup, a drop of 99.09% in the 3 years since the original tip above was published. Even an investment in the much maligned Bank of Ireland would have given you a 50% gain over that same period of time.

Investing at that time in Apple, despite the warnings at the time in the article, would have returned you a near 60% gain on your investment as of May 3rd, 2016.

This particular journalist would be a very big fan of gold as well. In the same period of time, a €10,000 investment in gold would now be worth about €8,750. Better than Molycorp, I guess.

Molycorp, the 5 year journey from USD$76 to USD$0.05

Molycorp, the 5 year journey from USD$76 to USD$0.05

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New phishing e-mail, referring to Arnotts, allegedly from Bank of Ireland 365

This is a new one on me – a phishing e-mail referring to a bank (Bank of Ireland 365) and another company (a refund from Arnotts apparently).

If you're reading this, you're probably on a PC with internet filtering, or a poor connections, so you're missing a picture of a phishing e-mail allegedly from Bank of Ireland

Phishing email allegedly from Bank Of Ireland

There are two key thing to watch out for here to confirm that it’s a bogus phishing e-mail. Firstly, the image that’s supposed to be in the e-mail with (probably) the Bank of Ireland logo isn’t showing up properly. And secondly, by hovering your mouse over the link that you’re supposed to click, you can see that it isn’t anything to do with Bank of Ireland, or Arnotts.

Definite scam!

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What would it take for you to switch your bank?

There’s a lot of talk these days about how our choice in banking is slowly but surely being eroded with the closure of Halifax, Postbank, NIB branches, First Active and the looming threat that both AIB and Bank of Ireland will engage in massive branch closures to save cash.

On that basis, this post may not be all that timely – but I guess after years of recording incidences of where banks repeatedly gouge their customers through multiple overcharging scandals, this post may never be timely in Ireland.

Is there anything that would make you change your bank account – assuming that knowing that your bank is quite likely to steal your money from your account for themselves won’t do it for you.

This article from the Get Rich Slowly website, What Does It Take to Make You Switch Banks?, asks that very question and poses a few scenarios. Are there any of the following points that would cause you to switch your banks:

  1. Higher interest rates on borrowings than the competition?
  2. Lower interest rates on savings?
  3. Poor customer service?
  4. Length of history with your current bank?
  5. The principle of the thing?
  6. Accessibility – particular now with branch closures

Another way of looking at this would be if you imagined what a bank outside of Ireland might be thinking when looking at Ireland to see if it’s worth coming into the market.

We’re going to hear much bleating in the coming weeks and months about the reduction in competition in the banking market, but if people aren’t inclined to switch banks (even during times when we had plenty of competition), what’s the point in calling for more competition if most people are going to stick with the old unreliables?

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Bank Of Ireland phishing e-mail – would you fall for this?

A friend sent me this e-mail phishing attempt from a month or so ago – pretending to be a Bank of Ireland originating e-mail.

Looking at the basic text of this e-mail, would you fall for it?

The clincher, that you should watch out for in case you thought this was legitimate, is if you see the link that the “Continue to Log In” button would be bringing you t0 – it’s not a Bank of Ireland website at all.

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1.9m Irish consumers overcharged by over €632m since 2004

Last week saw Bank of Ireland added to the Overcharging in Ireland hall of shame for the 6th time since 2004.

According to this breaking news story from the Irish Times:

Bank of Ireland is investigating a technical error that led to 120,000 customers being charged twice on certain Laser card transactions that happened last Friday.

Bank Of Ireland have refused to say how much money was involved, and blamed a computer error for the problem happening in the first place.

According to Laser Card Service Ltd. the average Laser transaction amount since it was introduced is €64. That would indicate that Bank Of Ireland wrongly took over €7.5m from their own custgmers accounts because of the error.

The article above quotes a BOI spokesperson confirming that all money had been repaid to customers by Wednesday morning.

Based on those numbers, over 1.9m Irish consumers have been overcharged by some of the biggest and best known companies (and government departments) in Ireland by over €632m.

That’s €330 per person since 2004 – that’s been revealed in public. See here for more details.

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Did you get an e-mail from George Towoin at Bank of Ireland?

Ignore it. It’s a phishing e-mail. It’s a scam, but it looks a lot different to a lot of others that I’ve seen. This is a key, and interesting, section of the e-mail:

In the last 2 weeks over 30 customers have come to Bank Of Ireland Branch and declared us that their credit cards that have been emptied. We have checked and noticed that only some bins were used for this attack of fraud.
The bins are confidential, in case, if you have received this message means, that your credit card may be attacked.
To not happen, Bank Of Ireland has launched a program with a password protection like “PIN Number”. This password consists of numbers, please choose a more complicated password for your safety, these steps are very simple, please reply to this email at the following link, if these steps will not be made within 72h, your account will be temporarily suspended for a period of 1-3 months.

Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense really, does it? One of the first things to watch out for. And the fact that they’ll suspend your account if you don’t follow up – a little strange also. The full text of the e-mail is available here.

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More silly bank charges – this time from NIB

Obviously the credit crunch and the banking crisis is having it’s impact on the banks in Ireland and their need to keep their profits up.

Following on from Conor Popes experience where Bank of Ireland charged him €5.90 for a new Laser card, I was this week charged €1.95 by National Irish Bank for them to re-issue me with a PIN number for my credit card.

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Buyer Beware! RTE1 8.30pm

Don’t forget that Philip Boucher-Hayes is on again tonight on RTE1 at 8.30pm with the 4th in his Buyer Beware! series. According to the RTE schedule, this is the sparce detail of what tonights show is about:

Consumer series in which Philip Boucher Hayes investigates companies and individuals who have left customers feeling dissatisfied.

I did manage to watch the full programme last week. In case you missed it, this is what was covered:

The feature story in Episode 3 of Buyer Beware! looks at the activities of a British-based company Community Concepts which has approached Irish businesses for money which, it claimed, would go to publish a drug awareness booklet for Irish schools. And, as we come into the Christmas shopping season, the second item examines the burgeoning phenomenon of online shopping, and looks at some do’s and don’ts for purchasers in the light of some cautionary tales.

To be honest, I found the programme quite disappointing. While there was probably some entertainment value in watching the presenter chasing around a dodgy geezer in the UK, its all a little bit abstract and a little bit irrelevant to Irish consumers.

Wouldn’t it be much more interesting and relevant if Philip was chasing Brian Goggin of Bank of Ireland or Eugene Sheehy of AIB around their housing estate (or leafy suburban roads) trying to find answers as to why they rip off Irish consumers so much, or chasing the Financial Regulator Pat Neary around and around the Central Bank on Dame Street trying to find out why he lets them away with it all the time.

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How safe is your data and identity?

Last week saw a further incidence of a financial institution losing client information, this time on a USB memory stick. This time, Bank of Ireland lost the bank account numbers, first line of address and contact details of nearly 1000 clients.

Hands up how many amongst you have their own personal sensitive details on a USB sticks like that and then carried it around with you in public? How many of you are careless enough to lose the USB sticks that you carry around with you?

Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot that we consumers can do about the clowns that work in the financial institutions and other organisations that are losing our data at an increasingly alarming frequency. Well, apart from hoping that the Data Protection Commissioner will do a little better than the National Consumer Agency, ComReg or IFSRA at being a regulator.

Inspired by these growing number of personal data loses, we’ve put together a set of Top Tips that we consumers can follow to make sure that we at least do everything we can do to protect our own personal data and identity. Click here for more.

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Frank Fahey and the banks

It was interesting to see Frank Fahey in yesterdays Irish Times calling for the government to invest in the banks. In a statement that might lead one to think that he doesn’t grasp the principles involved in investing through the stock market, he says:

I advocate that our Government should consider these issues. There is no risk involved in that the money will be repaid.

Buying shares in the banks is hardly a risk free investment.

Then again, Mr. Fahey would know – him being a shareholder (or at least was) in both Bank of Ireland and Irish Life & Permanent (Permanent TSB). A Government recapitalisation of the banks would definitely put a floor under any losses that he may have on those investments.

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