Sunday 8 December 2019

The Punt: Big withdrawl from PTSB

Permanent TSB group board chairman Alan Cook
Permanent TSB group board chairman Alan Cook

One of Permanent TSB's non-executive directors is stepping down. The bailed-out bank announced yesterday that David Stewart had informed the board that he didn't want to stand for re-election and would retire from the board at the conclusion of the upcoming Group AGM, which will be held on April 20.

Stewart was appointed to the board in March 2014. He stepped down as chief executive of Coventry Building Society that same month, having previously held the positions of finance director and operations director.

Permanent TSB group board chairman Alan Cook, pictured, paid tribute to Stewart.

"David has been a valued colleague and has made an enormous contribution to the board during his tenure," he said. "On behalf of my colleagues, I want to express our appreciation to him for his work on the board and we wish him every success in the years ahead."

Before joining Coventry Building Society in 2002, Stewart worked for ten years at DBS Management, holding a variety of positions including group chief executive. David was the chief executive of Coventry Building Society throughout the entire period of the financial crisis, having been appointed in 2006.

When Stewart was appointed, Alan Cook said the former would be invaluable to the group due to his experience in retail banking. His appointment marked the end of a period of board recruitment, which began in 2012 and had seen six new directors appointed.

Taxman doesn't want your cash

Revenue authorities in the Swiss canton of Zug want its famously wealthy residents to hold off on paying their taxes - a turn up for the books if ever there was.

According to the 'Financial Times', Swiss tax authorities' cash piles are being hit by the negative interest rates that now apply in banks there - part of the increasing effort to prevent the franc soaring in value on currency markets.

Rather than paying to keep cash in the bank, tax authorities in Zug would rather individuals held on to it themselves for longer.

Zug has now slashed discounts it offers taxpayers who settle their annual bill early and cut the interest rate charged on late payments. Other cantons may well follow.

From what the Punt hears the tax authorities have rumbled what had become the widespread practice in Switzerland over the past year of deliberately overpaying taxes.

The rates of around 0.3pc interest earned on this overpaid tax beat anything in the country's commercial banks, and taxpayers can pull the cash out at any time once they have rumbled their "mistake".

Staff win at the bookies

Senior staff at Paddy Power got a nice pre-Christmas bonus, the Punt notices. Filings at the Companies Office show that a total of over 1.5m shares in the company were dished out to more than 200 staff members.

Just under 1.5m of those shares had been exercised at a price of just €41.36 each, with 66,700 exercised at €19.87 apiece.

Shares in Paddy Power were changing hands at a whopping €123.80 yesterday, as it edges ever closer to its merger with UK firm Betfair, a move that will create an €8bn online gambling giant.

Those bonus shares, issued at €41.36 each, instantly more than doubled in value.

Filings show that among those who received shares in Paddy Power were involved in all aspects of the business, from mobile marketing, to finance and analysis. The Punt will save immediate blushes and not print names, but odds on that coffee breaks at Power Tower in Dublin today might well be spent poring over records to see who got what. But for those enviously eyeing their neighbour, console yourself in the knowledge that the closest the Punt has ever got to a share option is Mrs Punt offering to split a bag of Maltesers.

And no one needs fret. There's still an €80m special divvy to come. Paddy Power will pay it to its shareholders before the merger is completed. That equates to about €1.81 per Paddy Power share.

Irish Independent

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