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Department of Finance job for top Davy analyst

High-profile Davy analyst Scott Rankin is leaving the firm to join the Department of Finance to underpin the Government's efforts to sort out the beleaguered banking system.

It is understood that Mr Rankin will be reporting to Ann Nolan, assistant secretary in the department, who effectively leads up the unofficial 21-strong National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) team within the financial services division.

Government sources say the department is looking to tap Mr Rankin's background in analysing banking data, though his input will also feed into its evolving banking policy.

Mr Rankin, voted number one analyst for Ireland in last year's Thomson Reuters Extel Pan-European Survey, has been with Davy for 15 years, most recently heading up its bank research team.

He previously worked in the Department of Economics at Leicester University in England.

While a supporter of NAMA from the outset of the project's unveiling by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in early April, Mr Rankin was one of the first commentators to raise the spectre of 'phantom equity' attached to loans heading to the agency.

This relates to Government estimates that developers, on average, originally put down a 23pc 'deposit' on property projects financed by banks.

However, Mr Rankin pointed out in July that some of this equity was never actually cash, but borrowed on the back of equity tied up in other sites, investment properties and businesses interests.

Equity

Where these assets have fallen in value, the equity has evaporated -- giving rise to the headache of so-called phantom equity.

In June, Mr Rankin argued in an opinion piece in this newspaper that banks needed to be allowed increase interest rates to return to profitability and for the system to function properly again.

He also highlighted that banks, where staff wages typically account for 60pc total costs, are going to have to push through cuts in jobs and pay as part of their recovery.

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