Citibank's fine leaves former Regulator boss red-faced
Jim Farrell, the former chairman of the Financial Regulator's office, is a board member at Citibank -- the financial institution that has been hit by a big fine by his former alma mater.
It's a redfacedly embarrassing moment for the senior financial sector figure, who worked at the financial watchdog from its inception in 2002.
The Central Bank fined the Irish subsidiary of Citi €550,000 for breaches related to not reporting accurately on its liquidity situation and other regulatory failings during the period from January 2009, to July 31, 2012.
Mr Farrell took up a non-executive directorship at Citi in March, 2011. The majority of the reporting contraventions predate Mr Farrell's appointment. It would have been difficult for him to discover the issues in the short period between his appointment and July 2012.
He had been chairman at the Central Bank's Financial Regulator from mid-2008.
"I took over as chairman just before the whole thing blew up, and what I did was to try to steady the ship at that stage," Mr Farrell told the Sunday Independent in an interview in 2011 following his Citibank board appointment.
Mr Farrell, who declined to comment on Friday, was on the board of the Regulator from when it was first set up in 2002, and throughout much of the era when there was orgy of lending to developers and homebuyers that preceded the property market collapse and the banking sector bailout.
Prior to that, he headed up Citibank's Irish business for many years until 1990.
He then joined the NTMA and then, from 2004, he led the National Development and Finance Agency for a year.
In a statement, Citibank said that it identified the regulatory liquidity reporting errors itself in 2012 and when it did it immediately informed the Central Bank.
"We regret the reporting errors occurred," the bank said in a statement.
"At no time did Citibank Europe plc breach any liquidity limits and at all times the bank was highly liquid with strong capital ratios. We are pleased that this matter is now resolved."