Friday 23 March 2018

Punt: Would you credit (union) that?

IT seems as if former Central Bank regulator Martin Sisk is a shoo-in for the post of president of the Irish League of Credit Unions.

Mr Sisk (pictured) retired a couple of years ago from the Central Bank where he had been deputy registrar of the credit-union sector for almost two decades.

It will be unusual for a former central banker to end up heading up a representative body for the movement he once regulated.

Mr Sisk, who is involved in Malahide Credit Union, Co Dublin, is currently vice-president of the league and at the moment there is no other candidate standing for the position of president.

Current league president Jimmy Johnsone is just coming to the end of his two-year stint in office. As vice-president, Mr Sisk acts as chairman of the committee that oversees the league's bailout fund for credit unions, the savings protection fund.

The fund was put together from contributions made by league members.

He has spoken with passion about the fund – which was worth €100m at one stage – and the importance of the league retaining control of it at various league events.

Strange then to recall that when Mr Sisk worked for the Central Bank he had a different view.

As deputy registrar he told the High Court in 2004 that in his view the savings protection fund should be independent from the League of Credit Unions, and open to all credit unions irrespective of membership of the league.

That is a view that would not be popular with the member credit unions that make up the Irish League of Credit Unions.

Ladbrokes bets on site to see

It's only been a few wet weeks since Ladbrokes acquired Dermot Desmond's betting exchange Betdaq for about €30m, and already it's making changes.

A new filing with the Companies Office indicates that Betdaq Ireland's name has been changed to BQExchange. The change occurred on February 27, according to the filing.

In the meantime, Ladbrokes is wasting no time in beefing up its digital platforms. This week it announced a deal with gaming software developer Playtech.

The company will assist Ladbrokes, which is the UK's second biggest bookmaker, with launching a suite of casino games.

The move is important for Ladbrokes, which has been criticised in the past for failing to embrace digital opportunities quickly enough and lagging behind bigger rival William Hill.

Ladbrokes shares jumped to a five-year high on news of the Playtech tie-in, which is good news for Desmond. He already held a stake in Ladbrokes, but he's now an even bigger investor in the group. Half of the €30m paid for Betdaq was paid in Ladbrokes shares.

The share rise has also been welcome for Ladbrokes' chief executive Richard Glynn.

He has just received a £2.4m (€2.8m) share bonus in addition to his £2.2m pay package after shares in the company touched £2 and remained above that level for 30 consecutive days.

Irish Independent

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