Sunday 4 December 2016

Financial and legal experts sought to join bank boards

Published 28/04/2011 | 05:00

MORE than two years after the financial crisis hit, the Government is making an open call for Ireland's financial and legal experts to join the boards of our embattled banks.

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Ads placed in national newspapers this week will invite "suitably qualified" experts to apply to join the revamped boards of Ireland's bailed-out banks.

Remuneration is not mentioned, but sources said the new directors were likely to receive "similar" payments to those already in force. In AIB, state-appointed directors make about €30,000 a year.

The Government has vowed to force out directors who presided over the collapse of their banks and hopes to replace them with experts who respond to the call to action.

The Department of Finance is looking to draft in specialists from the fields of finance, economics, law, accountancy, auditing, credit management, insolvency, project finance, banking, investment, risk management, business management and treasury management.

The disciplines demanded reflect criticism in the recently published Nyberg Report into the banking crisis, which slammed the lack of financial expertise on bank boards as a contributory factor in the banking implosion.

Would-be directors must also "not have any conflicts of interest" that would interfere with their role and must pass the Central Bank's new "fitness and probity" tests, the advert says.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan is likely to use the expressions of interests received over the coming weeks to form a panel of prospective bank directors who will then be called on as needed.

"The advertising for expressions of interest should ensure a high-calibre field from which directors may be chosen and makes the process more open and transparent," the Department of Finance said in a statement.

Expressions of interests are due by May 12, but sources said it could take several months for the experts to actually join the banks' boards.

Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield has given banks until January 2012 to eliminate existing directors who are found to have "contributed" to their banks' demise, but the Government may wish to eliminate directors more swiftly.

The Department of Finance last night said it was "impossible" to predict exactly how many new directors would be required, since the number would in part depend on how much of the banking sector was state-controlled.

State

AIB is already virtually nationalised, but Bank of Ireland has ceded just 36pc of its ownership to the State and is hoping to raise enough cash to remain in majority private ownership.

Irish Life & Permanent currently has no state ownership, but is likely to be effectively nationalised later in the summer after being mandated to raise €5bn to reach new capital targets.

The boards of Irish Nationwide and Anglo Irish Bank are also set to be merged as the two institutions combine to form, while AIB's EBS takeover is likely to see the two institutions' boards merge.

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