Saturday 17 February 2018

Former Anglo head picked to run State's new SME fund

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Former Anglo Irish Bank executive Pat Walsh is poised to take a key role at private equity giant Bluebay Asset Management, which is running the new €450m small business credit fund for the National Pensions Reserve Fund.

Walsh is understood to have agreed to take a senior management role helping to oversee the fund which was set up to provide cash-starved small businesses with credit. The State is investing €175m in the fund with institutional investors providing the rest.

The banker left IBRC – formerly Anglo Irish – when it was put into liquidation as part of the promissory note deal with Europe last month.

Walsh was a former director of lending at Anglo during the property boom. The week before the Sean FitzPatrick loans scandal erupted in December 2008, Walsh helped announce Anglo was launching a new €500m loan fund.

"We will supply SME customers with the same flexible and bespoke lending approach which has been Anglo's key differentiator in the business banking market for the past 25 years," he said at the time. "Potential customers can expect a thorough understanding of their needs, quick decision-making, consistent risk management and on-going assistance as they work through these difficult times." Less than a month later Anglo was nationalised, eventually costing the taxpayer €30bn.

Walsh is the latest boom- time banker to reinvent himself. Former BoI boss Brian Goggin has been working closely with giant private equity firm Apollo. Last week former AIB chief Colm Doherty emerged as a director of utilities services firm Siteserv. Former Anglo COO Tiarnan O'Mahoney is now working with international foreign exchange firm Moneycorp.

Irish Independent

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