Monday 24 July 2017

Somers backs ex-NTMA Corrigan's move to Davy

Stockbroker hires top treasury official as new chairman

Michael Somers
Michael Somers
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Former National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) head Michael Somers has backed his successor John Corrigan's move to Davy Stockbrokers.

Somers told the Sunday Independent that he wasn't concerned Corrigan would be able to bring special knowledge about the NTMA, which looks after Government borrowing, to Davy.

Corrigan left the NTMA in January.

"It wouldn't particularly bother me. Certainly when I was in the NTMA there was nothing secret in the NTMA that we were not prepared to put out into the open," Somers said.

"So what he would bring to Davy's that they wouldn't already know, I frankly don't know. He might as well be doing that as hanging around doing nothing.

"John changed the regime a bit but I used to run two press briefings every year, one on December 31 and one when our annual report came out in July. I just said to the fellas, I'll tell you everything you want to know.

"We used to meet the opposition TDs, the Government TDs attended before the Public Accounts Committee. The only thing I wouldn't tell them was how much people were being paid".

Somers became chairman of Davy's great rival Goodbody in 2011, two years after leaving the NTMA.

He backed the evidence given by Nama chief executive and former NTMA director to the Banking Inquiry, saying the NTMA was effectively sidelined in the decision-making process around the bank guarantee.

"I went through that carry-on of being shoved into a room as well for hour after hour as the guys decided what to do," Mr Somers said.

"I was in New York that night, but I mean that was the general practice. You were brought over, put into a room, and the politicians, possibly the Attorney General, all the guys from the Department of Finance, and the governor of the Central Bank went into another room. We'd be left there for ages.

"My only attitude to the banking sector was we had to raise money to run the country and I didn't want to put it into the banks. It was as simple as that.

"I got legal advice which said, well, the Minister for Finance is the boss, you've got to do what you're told, but get it in writing.

"So it was put in writing. I said, well if it's put in writing then I'll do it. Otherwise I don't do it."

Somers is also deputy chairman, head of the board risk committee and a Government-appointed director at AIB. His term there is up at the end of this year, but Somers (73) said he would stay on beyond then if asked.

He's also on the board of Kerry financial services company Fexco and insurance brokerage Willis Group Holdings.

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