New sheriff leaves financial groups bruised and stunned
MATTHEW Elderfield is a man on a mission. His detractors say that mission is to use his stint in Dublin as a stepping stone to a big job as regulator in one of the world's great financial centres, while his supporters see him as a fearless champion of the laws of the land who is prepared to stand up to the financial services industry and his political masters.
It is certainly difficult to imagine any other official in Ireland upstaging his finance minister by appointing liquidators to a group of companies as important as Quinn Insurance. The timing of yesterday's news, hours before Brian Lenihan unveiled his vision for the country's banking industry, is extraordinary, but not as extraordinary as the decision itself.
Less than three months after moving to Dublin from Bermuda, Financial Regulator Elderfield winded the financial community yesterday by appointing administrators to the country's second largest insurer as well as forcing the Government to spend billions of extra euro on 'bombproofing' the banks.