Friday 23 March 2018

Cardiff addresses lack of expertise at Finance

In May last year, the boss of the Department of Finance, Kevin Cardiff, admitted that forecasts by his own department in the run-up to the financial crisis had been, well, "dreadful".

He also made another admission: his own department simply didn't have the in-house expertise to grapple with the banking crisis.

"The department needs to increase its level of specialist skills. We don't need dozens of people with PhDs; we need a select few who will be available as a resource to the department," Cardiff explained.

It is hard to argue with his logic. Remember in 2009 the Department of Finance thought just popping €7bn of capital into AIB and Bank of Ireland would do the trick?

Fortunately, Finance is finally bulking up on its expertise and is hiring people who've actually worked in the banking industry.

This week Neil Ryan, a highly-regarded executive from UBS and before that Wells Fargo, was drafted in by the department.

Ryan is likely to be a major asset, giving the kind of unvarnished advice that politicians and officials don't always like to hear, but need to hear.

He joins John Moran, the head of the department's banking section, who is a former member of Zurich Financial.

The rest of the State's banking brains trust, now based at the NTMA, are also moving over.

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