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Ex-boss of UK subprime lender gets top job at Permanent TSB


A FORMER boss of controversial UK subprime lender FirstPlus has been named as the chief executive who will lead Permanent TSB into its standalone future.

Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) announced the appointment of British banker Jeremy Masding yesterday. Permanent TSB boss David Guinane, who also applied for the role, is leaving the bank and was praised for his "significant contribution" last night.

Mr Masding (46) spent the bulk of his banking career at UK banking giant Barclays, where he worked for close to 23 years.

His last role in the group was as chief executive of FirstPlus, a Barclays-owned subprime lender that specialised in top-up mortgages which allowed people to roll other debts into their home loans.

The company, whose ad campaigns were famously fronted by TV's Carol Vorderman, came under sustained criticism from charities in the UK for encouraging people to put their homes at risk.

FirstPlus closed to new business in mid-2008, citing a fall in demand. Mr Masding had left a year earlier, and went on to head up UK home loans provider Central Trust before becoming a self-employed financial services consultant in May 2010.

In a statement, Finance Minister Michael Noonan yesterday welcomed Mr Masding's appointment, adding that the Government was "pleased" his remuneration package would be within the banking pay guidelines.

Mr Masding's total remuneration, including everything excepting pension, must be less than €500,000. He has no bonus or share entitlements.

It is understood that the pay cap did not impede IL&P's hunt for a chief executive.

The appointment was made by the board of IL&P, and approved by the Central Bank and Department of Finance, which oversees the State's 99pc interest in the bancassurer.

The Briton is set to begin work on February 20, ahead of the separation of IL&P's life insurance and banking units in "late March/early April". The exact form of that separation is set to be hammered out with the EU/IMF/ECB troika.

Any separation will leave Permanent TSB with full responsibility of all functions like risk and treasury, which had previously been run through IL&P's head office.

Mr Masding will also have to try to carve out a viable business from a bank that's crippled by a loss-making tracker book and the muted market for home-loan demand.

"The coming years will be critical to establishing the bank as a successful, profitable and competitive force in the Irish banking system and we believe that Jeremy is well suited to this role," IL&P chairman Alan Cook said.

Mr Masding said he believed the bank has a "very important role" to play in the "much-reduced Irish banking sector" and said he was also "conscious" that Permanent TSB owes it to the taxpayer to "return the bank to strength and profitability as quickly as possible".

Irish Independent