Business Irish

Saturday 24 February 2018

BoI insider cashes in shares

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Donal Collins is head of group strategy and development at Bank of Ireland. He's just been appointed to the group executive of the bank by Richie Boucher.

Last week, Collins disposed of 388,773 shares in the bank at a price of 28 cent per share. This was his entire shareholding in the bank. Every single share in his name. It'll have netted about €108,000 before various costs and expenses. Not an inconsiderable sum – but also not an obvious moment to take everything off the table.

So why did one of the bank's top execs decide to dispose of all of these shares? "In situations where the bank's PDMRs (persons with direct managerial responsibility) deal in BoI stock, the bank reports it to the market as we are required to do under the Market Abuse Rules. We have no further disclosure obligations," the bank told me. Yikes.

Collins' disposal follows the sale by canny US distressed asset investor Wilbur Ross, who dumped a blob of shares last month. Bank of Ireland's share price has tumbled since then.

While some of the numbers coming out from the banks are definitely brighter – with Ulster Bank reporting its first quarterly profit in five years last week – the looming stress tests will be squeaky bum time for senior banks and the Department of Finance. It's pretty clear that even those at the centre of the banking sector don't really know what the future will bring. While Collins felt it was time to sell, his colleague, group chief finance officer Andrew Keating, figured it was time to buy. Just three days later, he spent €49,000 buying 177,594 shares at 27.6 cent per share. Only one of them can be right.

Sunday Indo Business

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