Monday 22 January 2018

Noonan defends massive sums spent on bailout consultants

Laura Noonan

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has staunchly defended the consultants' fee bonanza triggered by the latest bank bailout, insisting that the State and state-owned banks had to hire separate advisers when their interests were not "fully aligned".

The comments from Mr Noonan, in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Fein finance spokesman Pearse Doherty, came a week after the Irish Independent revealed the massive sums the State and banks are spending on advisers.

The National Pensions Reserve Fund, which is investing in the banks on behalf of the State, will pay up to €7.8m to Goldman Sachs for advice, while the banks themselves will pay close to €200m for advice on their €24bn recapitalisation.

Mr Noonan this week said that the new Government, as a significant shareholder in the banks, had "streamlined" the use of advisers by "eliminating considerable duplication and, where appropriate, utilising the services of advisers already engaged".

"There are, however, occasions where it is necessary for the State to have its own advisers where the interests of the taxpayer and the banks might not be fully aligned," he said.

"The added value for the State in having these advisers has substantially outweighed the cost," Mr Noonan added, pointing to the €4.4bn of 'burden sharing' with bondholders that has been achieved in recent months.

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