Friday 20 April 2018

Bank of Ireland share rise creates 178 millionaires

NICK WEBB BANK of Ireland's share price rise over the last year has seen the ranks of its millionaire shareholders swell to almost 180 Irish people.

Based on last Friday's share price of ?14.72, the value of any holdings of more than 68,000 shares would top ?1m. The bank's vast share register includes 178 Irish individuals with shareholdings worth more than ?1m.

A large number of the share millionaires appear to be former or current bank employees, ranging from former bank chief Pat Molloy (with nearly ?18m worth of shares) to regional executives. Bank of Ireland shares have spiked from under ?10 to nearly ?15 in the last two years.

Mike Soden, the BoI boss who quit so spectacularly two years ago, when revelations of his risque adult internet surfing emerged, is listed as holding just 3,199 shares - valued at ?47,000. The shares are registered to the CEO's office at Bank of Ireland.

However, while running the bank, Soden was listed in regulatory documents as owning 89,756 shares. It is not clear whether he has sold 86,000 since his departure or if they are held in a nominee account. Those shares would be worth nearly ?1.3m.

Other shareholders include Celebrity You're a Star judge Louis Walsh, who owns 3,044 shares, worth ?45,000. Walsh has held the shares since June 1999, when the bank traded at about ?9, representing a hefty profit for the pop svengali. Socialite Clodagh Kean has just one share.

Paul Appleby, the director of Corporate Enforcement, which helps keep big business honest, holds 1,901 shares, worth over ?28,000. Appleby's regulators have taken a number of cases against individuals in the banking sector, most notably against a number of former National Irish Bank executives. One of these, former NIB boss Jim Lacey, has ?25,000 worth of shares.

Last week, the Sunday Independent revealed that Permanent TSB boss Denis Casey held over ?145,000 of shares in his bitter banking rival. A spokesman for Permo TSB denied any conflict of interest.

While Casey may be the most influential retail banker to hold BoI shares, he is not the only one. AIB board member Adrian Burke, a former Arthur Andersen partner, holds 10,977 shares, worth over ?162,000. He owns just 27 more shares in his own bank, although that block is valued at over ?225,000.

While the EBS may be trying to compete with BoI for a share of the lucrative mortgage market, its chairman Brian Joyce wins both ways. He holds 15,000 shares in the bank, valued at ?222,000.

Irish Nationwide chairman Michael Walsh is joint owner of 51,663 shares, which have a value of nearly ?765,000. In fact, a total of 3.57m shares, worth ?53m, is registered at the Irish Nationwide HQ.

Anglo Irish Bank's finance director William McAteer has stock worth almost ?1.6m, held through an investment firm. Ex-Permanent TSB boss Brian McConnell has a shareholding valued at nearly ?104,000.

The Catholic church has a biblically vast shareholding, owning close to ?54m worth of Bank of Ireland shares.

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