Thursday 19 July 2018

The Punt: Four legs good, two legs bad

Jeremy Masding, CEO of the Permanent TSB

All countries are equal but some are more equal than others, at least when it comes to the European Union. Quelle surprise. Or whatever it is they say in Euroland these days.

The European Commission, the Brussels civil service that controls ever increasing areas of our lives, has not been consistent in applying the fiscal rules that require member states to keep budgets under control, EU auditors said yesterday.

The rules were introduced after the crash as a sop to Germany in exchange for its signature on bailout cheques. They obliged all countries to stick to tight budgets, even, as we are learning, at the cost of plunging the continent into a devastating economic malaise.

Now though, under pressure from their own jobless populations, national governments are increasingly tearing up the rule book. But only some nations are getting away with it.

The Commission "is not applying the procedure in a consistent manner," EU auditors said in a report,

The auditors said the Commission used "a high degree of flexibility and discretion" (ahem) for Italy and France in 2015, including basically turning a blind eye to Italy's breach of the debt rule, and giving France extra time to cut its deficit. The European Commission rejected this criticism, saying it treats all countries in an equal manner. Indeed.

Permanent replacement

Ptsb boss Jeremy Masding is finally going to have some management company at the bank's board meetings - where he has been the only executive among nine other directors since former CFO Glen Lucken left the bank last August.

The bailed-out bank yesterday named Stephen Groarke as its new group chief risk offer and said it plans to appoint him to the board at its next scheduled meeting on April 26.

The qualified accountant has been interim CRO at Permo since September. He was previously head of group finance at Permanent TSB.

Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland non-executive director Pat Butler has been appointed to the board of TIG Finco, which despite the name is not an Irish pub in Spain. Its in fact a major distributor of insurance products through subsidiaries in the UK.

Mr Butler is a partner of The Resolution Group, a financial services investment firm specialising in large-scale restructuring. Prior to that he spent twenty five years with McKinsey & Co.

Central Bank opts for plastic

The Central Bank is practising what it preaches: it wants a new cashless payment solution for all its staff restaurants, coffee docks and shop in Dublin.

The Central Bank has been pushing us to use cash less frequently, relying instead on plastic and innovations such as contactless payments.

The Central Bank said the principal use of the new cashless system (it already has one at exsisting sites) will be for staff catering services.

"Due to the planned introduction of a public-serving barista and a staff shop in the new office at North Wall Quay, the new system will also require the capability to allow direct payment for services through debit/credit card facilities," the invitation to tender states.

"Critical to the decision on the preferred tenderer is the approach to the mobilising of the new North Wall Quay office," it adds. The new Central Bank HQ is what would have been the new head office for the failed Anglo Irish Bank.

"This is an extremely high profile exercise and will require significant investment in time and personnel to ensure its successful launch," the bank adds.

That's management speak for 'we really need to get the tills to work in the new staff canteen'.

Irish Independent

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