Irish

Wednesday 23 July 2014

The Punt: Bankers go a bit bonkers

Published 10/05/2014|02:30

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Former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, John Moran
Former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, John Moran

BANKERS aren't necessarily as strait-laced as they seem. Take John Moran, below, the soon-to-be ex-Secretary General at the Department of Finance. Sporting Johnny Ronan-esque shoulder length locks, Mr Moran's always managed to send out something of an anti-establishment air despite working at the heart of government. He also once owned a chain of juice bars.

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More and more, we're seeing signs of bankers and financial types abandoning their grey- suited stereotypes. Another example is Phillippe Legrain, the former economic adviser to the Economic Commission who made waves this weeks by denouncing the EU's treatment of Ireland in the financial crisis as "outrageous". But Mr Legrain is more than an economist – he's also a keen house and techno music fan.

The latest trend to take the sector by storm is even more enlightened. No, not some algorithm that makes millions in seconds. It's the practice of "mindfulness", the ancient Buddhist idea that embraces meditation. Financial whizzkids are turning to it in droves to relieve stress. KPMG, Goldman Sachs and Unilever have all presented mindfulness seminars, according to the 'Financial Times' while the UK Chartered Financial Analyst Institute may even launch a meditation program-me.

GOODBODY IS HEADHUNTING

ONE of our leading stockbrokers and finance houses is head-hunting.

Goodbody, which recently poached 'Sunday Business Post' reporter John Ihle to look after public relations, has another new post to fill. It's on the lookout for a head of global investment strategy to support its expanding wealth management business.

Apparently the chosen candidate must have extensive economic and investment knowledge which he, or she, has clearly demonstrated by a successful track record in financial markets, asset management and investment research. And they've got to be highly motivated. No pressure there then.

The newbie will have ultimate responsibility for its investment process, oversight, and ensuring the investment process represents best practice. So that's making sure everyone abides by all those pesky rules and procedures.

Goodbody prides itself on being one of the largest wealth management firms in the country with more than €6bn of assets under it. But that's the only figure they're divulging, with the remuneration package being kept firmly under wraps.

TOUGH TALKING, BUT NO OIL SPILL

Anyone hoping for (metaphorical of course) blood on the plush carpets of the Herbert Park Hotel at yesterday's Petroneft EGM was left disappointed.

An anticipated showdown between the oil company's board, led by chairman David Golder and chief executive Dennis Francis on one side, and disgruntled biggest shareholder Maxim Korobov on the other, failed to really get going.

There was some tough talking from the floor during the unusual double EGM – called following a high-profile campaign by Mr Korobov, less from himself than from other small shareholders, who took the opportunity to voice concerns.

The company can present yesterday's shareholder ballots – all of which backed the board – as a victory. But Mr Korobov and other unhappy shareholders got their win simply by having the votes held. They have marked management's card, and the row will blow up again if a farm-out deal with Oil India fails to bear fruit fairly quickly.

The generally muted tone at the EGM was helped by Dennis Francis' lengthy, and highly technical slide presentation – which prompted one shareholder to hope the company's presentation to other potential investors are a bit sexier.

Irish Independent

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