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Redundant bank staff could land new roles in IFSC, predicts tsar Bruton

Some of the staff being made redundant at the Irish retail banks such as AIB and Bank of Ireland stand a good chance of getting jobs at the IFSC banks, former Taoiseach John Bruton predicted last night.

Mr Bruton, who is the IFSC tsar, said it was rare that IFSC firms got to hire so many "experienced people".

He said some of the professional firms, such as accountants and law practices connected with the IFSC, might also want to hire some of those leaving the retail banks.

"Firms based in the IFSC are now going to have an additional pool of experienced people to draw from,'' said Mr Bruton.

He declined to specify which firms will be hiring in the remainder of 2011, but said the IFSC in general was growing, with assets under management going from €1.4 trillion in 2009 to €1.9tn last year. Retail banking staff could "transition'' down to the IFSC in time, he explained.

Mr Bruton also told the inaugural public meeting of IFSC Ireland that banks had to be allowed to "fail'' in future. "We really have to get to the point where banks can fail without the taxpayer being hit,'' he said.

He said when an airline or a furniture chain collapsed, it had no impact for the taxpayer.

He accepted banks were a different case but said it was now time to make sure they were not different in future.

"It's not capitalism,'' said Mr Bruton of the current global approach to distressed banks. "Commerce cannot operate otherwise if there is no failure."

Mr Bruton delivered an upbeat assessment of the economy saying once a "confidence factor'' was created the gloomy mood would lift.

Mr Bruton and Irish boss of State Street Willie Slattery said it was now vital for Ireland to preserve its credit rating.

Mr Bruton said the best way to tackle the credit ratings agencies was to surprise them. "What we need to do is surprise them on the upside,'' he said.

One way was to lower the deficit below what was expected or sell assets faster and at higher prices than anyone expected, he explained.


"If you can surprise the markets on the upside, your problems remove themselves much quicker,'' said Mr Bruton.

He also reiterated his view that Ireland's 12.5pc corporation tax was not likely to change. "It's not going to change, because that would make no sense,'' he commented.

He said the EU and IMF were like any bank manager, they wanted to "enhance'' the ability of a borrower to repay their money. He said the German government appeared to want some kind of "gesture'', but Ireland could not give ground on corporation tax.

He said other things Ireland could give to its European partners might be a quicker adjustment in the budget.

"But that's really a matter for the Government,'' he added.

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