By James McGann
THE glamour of the New York stock exchange came to Westport last week, when six of the world's leading stock market traders arrived for a seminar.
They were there to talk to The Investment Club Network, a group of clubs that trade on-line with the stock market in the US and which ahs eight affiliated clubs in Mayo (five based in or around Westport and three in Castlebar), all buying and selling stocks and options, trying to turn a profit.
One of the founding members of the group is Swinford man, Owen O'Malley, whose idea it was to bring the latest seminar - which are normally held in Dublin - to the west.
The Investment Club Network provides education and training and organizes participatory seminars to help people understand the world of investment shares, bonds, options, commodities, securities and derivatives. The seminars teach people how to invest wisely and trade online, sensibly and profitably. In Hotel Westport last week the seminar joined the New York stock exchange at 2:30pm (9am New York time) to illustrate some of their ideas.
There are over 330 clubs worldwide with circa 6,000 members involved all trading stocks online. In Mayo there are 130 members. In January 2001 the West-Coast Dealers was born, founded by Westport man Martin McFadden after seeing a club being set up in Castlebar.
The process sees each member contribute €60 a month for five years and every month they meet and decide what shares to buy, sell or hold. Over the five years they attend courses with TICN to further their knowledge of the business and as time passes they become more and more familiar with the intricacies and skills of buying and selling on-line.
Last week, Michael Ring, TD, welcomed the traders from all over Ireland and beyond to Westport, telling them that there was "a great pride in our town and our community; get out and see the town and see for yourself. It is great to see so many delegates here from America, Australia, but I'm also delighted to see we have five clubs here in Westport, it's fantastic to see Westport people involved. I'll tell you another thing as well," Michael joked, "I'm going to join myself because I have shares in a company."