Sunday 15 September 2019

Donal Roche pumped €234,000 into loss-making Covestone before selling it to Bank of Ireland

Bank of Ireland CEO Francesca McDonagh. Photo: Mark Condren
Bank of Ireland CEO Francesca McDonagh. Photo: Mark Condren

Gretchen Friemann

Entrepreneur, Donal Roche, injected €234,000 into Covestone Asset Management before offloading it to Bank of Ireland earlier this year for an undisclosed sum.

The cash injection is revealed in the accounts filed by Covestone Asset Management Ltd for the financial year ending in December 2016.

Mr Roche founded the boutique private wealth vehicle in 2008 after taking over a portfolio of high net worth clients from Goldman Sachs.

At the time of the deal with Bank of Ireland Private Covestone oversaw about €100m of assets spread across 150 clients.

The freshly-filed accounts show the firm was facing a number of challenges. Accounts report a loss of €63,430 in 2016, reversing a profit of €1,757 in 2015

The accounts state Covestone Asset Management's accumulated losses stood at €828,197 at the year end.

A note to the financial statements asserts the directors "are satisfied the company is well capitalised to absorb those losses and the expectation is the company will remain profitable into the foreseeable future."

"In addition," the accounts state, the principal shareholder has injected further capital of €234,000 during the year to ensure the company can continue to meet its obligations."

Bank of Ireland agreed to purchase Covestone on December 21st.

But the accounts state the transaction was not sealed until the second quarter of 2017 when shareholders in the wealth management boutique voted in favour of a scheme of amalgamation arrangement that transferred three Covestone funds into "similar respective funds in Bank of Ireland's respective funds suite".

The accounts also identify a number of related party transactions, including the rental of property controlled by close family member of Mr Roche and the provision of investment management services to firms in which Mr Roche also held directorships.

David Went, the former CEO of Irish Life & Permanent, was also a director of Covestone. He resigned from the board in January.

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