The following is a snippet of conversation about stocks and shares between George Lee and business editor of the Sunday Independent, Nick Webb (The Business).
Nick: The only way that you’re guaranteed to make money out of the stock market is to cheat.
George: Oh yeh, how would you do that?
Nick: I think inside information, if you know something’s going to happen, a takeover that’s going to happen and you buy shares but unfortunately it’s illegal.
Not that anyone’s ever been prosecuted in Ireland; it happens everywhere else but doesn’t seem to happen here at all.
Now this conversation was conducted in a jocular fashion but beneath the tongue in cheek banter there’s a very serious message.
Not once since the establishment of the state in 1922 has anybody, ever, been charge with insider trading in Ireland.
This can only mean one of two things.
Either the Irish Stock Market is the most closely regulated market in the history of the world admitting into its membership only those who are passed 100% honest by the Mother Theresa School of economics or breaches of the law are dealt with ‘differently’ from every other country in the world.
Here’s a hint.
The ISE does not come under the Freedom of Information Act. It does not submit annual reports.
‘Accountability’ takes the form of the submission of a very general, confidential statement to the Minister for Finance once a year.
In other words, the Irish Stock Exchange operates in total secrecy with no accountability whatsoever.