Press Release on committee looking at Anglo's Dir loans

Basically saying they need to improve regulation like everywhere else due to this world financial crisis…

text below.

Wire: Company and Economic Releases (CRL) Date: 2009-01-09 21:13:41

The following is a statement from the Irish Financial Services Regulatory
Authority issued via e-mail on Jan. 9, 2009.

Statement by Authority

The Committee established by the Authority on Saturday 20 December 2008 to
undertake an urgent review of directors’ loans at Anglo Irish Bank and the
regulatory response has today (Friday 9 January 2009) delivered its report to
the Authority. The Authority has accepted the report.

The essential task of the Committee was to look within the organisation at two
issues: when the information about these loans was obtained by the
organisation, and how the information was communicated and followed up by way
of response. It did not include an examination of any other issues relating to
Anglo Irish Bank, which are the subject of a separate and ongoing

The Authority is subject to strict obligations of confidentiality under
legislation and has been legally advised that it may not publish the
Committee’s Report. Nevertheless, it is conscious in the interests of
transparency and public interest in this issue to outline the essence of the
main elements of the Report.


In summary, in relation to dealing with the issue of directors’ loans in Anglo
Irish Bank, the Committee concluded that there was a breakdown in terms of
internal communications and process and in the regulatory follow-up and
response of the organisation. This resulted in a failure to take appropriate
and timely actions in relation to what was a serious matter and to escalate the
matter to the Authority.

In particular, the Committee concluded that:

*    if the information available from Anglo quarterly returns had been 

monitored more comprehensively the issue of directors’ loans could have been
identified much earlier from the returns dealing with Large Exposures;

*    once the matter of directors' loans had been identified it was pursued 

actively by the Banking Supervision Department (BSD). Two meetings took place
between BSD and Anglo;

*    the organisation did not use its discretion under its legislation to 

alert the Director of Corporate Enforcement at the initial stages;

*    the matter was not pursued with Irish Nationwide at the time.  It is 

now being pursued under the separate review initiated by the Authority;

*    the discussions with Anglo were not broadened out to include Anglo's 

Head of Internal Audit, the Chair of the Audit Committee and the external

*    while concerns persisted in BSD the matter was not pursued partly 

because a letter from Anglo went missing and partly because of the pressure on
officials from the unfolding of liquidity problems in financial markets and in
individual institutions;

*    the Committee noted that while the pressures referred to above did not 

explain what occurred they are an essential part of the background;

*    the issue did not surface again internally, even in Autumn 2008, when 

major stability and strategic issues were being addressed by the authorities
including the Government;

*    in relation to the particular issue of whether this matter had been 

mentioned to the Prudential Director and Chief Executive after a wider meeting
had concluded in January 2008, the Committee was impressed with the coherence,
clarity and belief in their stated recollections of the people concerned and
their integrity. Nevertheless, the evidence presented to the Committee on this
issue could not be reconciled by the Committee. There is no suggestion from
any party that any communication - verbal or written - on this issue was made
to either the Prudential Director or Chief Executive in the period (subsequent
to January) to December 2008.


In its concluding remarks, the Committee noted that it had been greatly
impressed by the quality, dedication, commitment and strong work ethic as well
as the integrity of the officials with whom they engaged. The Committee noted
the pressures that the staff had faced since the onset of the crisis in the
global financial system in August 2007 and noted issues with staffing
requirements. The Committee noted that the adequacy of existing resources
would need to be kept under review particularly where modification of the
approach to regulation and more intensive supervision would require more staff.

The Committee observed that the system of regulation that operated in Ireland
was highly regarded internationally. However, the events of 2007 and 2008 in
the financial environment globally pointed to serious inadequacies in systems
of regulation operating across the world. Ireland is no exception and a much
more intensive type of regulation has been introduced here under the Government
Guarantee Scheme and this position is developing all the time.

The Authority notes and accepts the recommendations of the Committee and is
committed to implementing them in full. These are:

*    The review of our strategic regulatory approach in the light of 

developments in 2007 and 2008, to which the Authority is already committed,
should be advanced as quickly as possible. The review should ensure that the
organisation meets its statutory mandate and responds to the changed regulatory
environment and to EU and international developments in financial regulation.

*    The staffing requirements for the organisation should be reviewed on 

the basis of both the strategy review and also of the outcome of the work being
undertaken by external consultants for the Authority, specifically the Business
Process Review and Benchmarking against comparator financial regulators and
other similar businesses, which is expected to be concluded shortly.

*    Any changes recommended by these consultants in the organisational 

structure and reporting lines within the Financial Regulator should be examined
and if considered appropriate acted upon by the Authority as a matter of

*    While no process can eliminate the need for the exercise of good 

judgement by officials, existing internal communication and escalation
procedures and procedural manuals should be reviewed taking account of the
lessons to be learned from this report and the ongoing separate review of
directors’ loans initiated by the Authority.

*    Filing and document management and tracking arrangements should be 


*    The review instigated by the Authority to determine the treatment of 

directors’ loans in all institutions covered by the Government Guarantee Scheme
should be completed at an early date.

*    Loans to directors should be examined in greater detail, especially to 

ensure that loans to any business in which a director has a major interest
(defined as 10 per cent or more of the shares or voting rights) are being
included in returns to the Financial Regulator.

*    Arrangements should be made to ensure more effective monitoring of the 

more important prudential returns, including those for loans to directors, with
on-line submission and built-in data validation and checking processes A
progress report should be made to the Authority by end-February 2009.


Good release BT.

Amazing that someone on the Stateide breaks this before someone on this side of the water.

This whole new wolrd order is gone absolutely crazy.
I’m seriousl going to be driving to Kanturk tomorrow mornign to stock up on shotgun shells.
More beans from Aldi on Tuesday!!!

There haven’t been any beans in the local Lidl all this week. I’m serious.

this pile of shite isn’t adequate. I’ll only focus on one element for the moment. What’s the bit about the letter going missing?

“not pursued partly because a letter from Anglo went missing” So someone got a letter relating to an important issue. Did they read it? When did it go missing? Why did they not ask for the letter to be resent? I’d suspect the dog ate it.

To quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park again “That’s one big pile of shit !”

Can you believe the balls on these guys:

With the economy in free fall & the Government finances starting to make Zimbabwe look good these bastards say they need to hire more staff, what the fuck ? XX

I liked this bit as well:

I take that to mean that the investigators were impressed with the way all the members of the Anglo board were able to spin the same pack of lies, but they weren’t buying.

As a side note, what fucking language is this report written in, because it certainly isn’t any form of English I can understand.

Dare I ask if there’s any chance of criminal prosecution, or at least the DoCE banning the lot of them from every holding any directorships ever again ?

OK. It’s just this little bit here that is most massivley annoying to me.
The rest of it is just the normal irresponsibility that we’re well and truly used to from Irish useless government and it’s regulatory services within the useless public service.

So they’ve hired external consultants to do work.
So that’s why they need more people themselves to do the follow up to that work?
Is this just stupid or what?

Furthermore, I’d like to see a full and hugely transparent explanation of who exactly is doing this bloody consultant work?
Probably the ex mistress of some gubbermint minster? Or her Aunt? Or another familiy connected member?

Worse still they probably hired consultants such as KPMG or DeLoitte or Andersons (if they still exist?) etc. to do the consultancy work even though those consultants all have connections by degrees of separation to the organizations that those consultants will be reviewing.
So it seems that they, the Regulator, has hired financial consultants, to investigate financial organizations (who I’ve absolutely no doubt are connected to those financial organizations). What a load of rubbish!

I though that the regulatory authority was meant to be independent.

DOH!!! sorry I just forgot that I’m now again living in Ireland… :angry: :angry: :angry:

:open_mouth: :open_mouth:

Now carefully putting note in Nokia calendar to ABSOLUTELY ENSURE TO STOCK UP ON SHOTGUN SHELLS AND BEANS… :nin

Don’t bother even asking FishFoodie.
Not a hope of anything happening here.
These guys will be sunning themselves drinking Margueritas on a bean in Marbella while you or I will be slaving paying for it in Main Street, Ballygonebackwards.

Don’t forget (as I often do).

This is OIRLAND and we’re OIRISH! :angry: :angry:

Hanafin says she’s going to hire more staff to man the dole offices.

Ah, there’s much more to this statement which bears careful reading. Its language is contorted but, where Committees are concerned, that is usually a symptom of internal struggles, not a deficit of literary skill. Sorry, this is a very long posting but it takes a lot to disentangle this mess.

The bottom line is Neary has taken the fall but we are not told (a) how this was first discovered, (b) who was informed and (c) why nothing was done about it. IFSRA staff knew about the loans in January but the Committee goes to great pains to avoid saying when Neary (or Con Horan, the next in line) were informed. There may be an implication that they were informed at a meeting in January

but finds there was no communication to them afterwards until December.

Neary in his “retirement” statement says

“So far as I am concerned” is neat: it could be simply “with regard to my own role,” but it could also mean “Despite evidence to the contrary, I assert that…”.

A few other general points:

Firstly, there is a lot of spinning going on about a missing letter but that is only a distraction. The Committee notes this excuse, and the “pressure of work” excuse, but finds that they

Most importantly, we won’t see the Committee’s report because

So, how many FOI requests will Shane Ross have to lob in? Confidentiality is not there to protect the regulators.

Thirdly, the statement is issued by a body that now refers to itself simply as “the Authority”. The statement on the establishment of this investigation was issued in the name of “the Board” when, as I pointed out in an earlier post, in law the “Board” was the Regulatory Authority. (Neary was simply the CEO but, for some reason, had taken to calling himself the “Financial Regulator”). In any case, today’s report confirms my suspicion that everyone else on the IFSRA were

Fourthly, the Committee seems painfully shy. I see from an earlier Indo report that

You might feel reassured by that impressive list from a broad cross section of Irish life. In fact, the names bear an uncanny resemblance to the IFSRA membership (as listed in the organagram below):

The missing person was Neary himself. Mary O’Dea did a good day’s work having now been appointed acting Chief Executive and Jim Farrell

i.e. he has awoken from his slumbers. If memory serves me, O’Dea was “disappointed” not to get the Chief Executive job when Neary was appointed, so there is some satisfaction here.

Specific Points made in the Statement
This investigation was exclusively internal to IFSRA i.e. it was conducted by IFSRA and it did not investigate anyone else’s role, the Central Bank, D/Finance or even Anglo and Nationwide

. When are we going to get the full story?

The Committee finds that these loans should have been spotted earlier

The department which found out about these loans (headed by Mary Burke) are off the hook

Burke reports to Con Horan, Prudential Director, who in turn reports directly to Neary. So where did the buck stop?

Despite their active response, somehow Banking Supervision did not alert Anglo’s internal governance mechanisms or pursue Nationwide

… and…

There was a serious regulatory failure in that

The Committee heard some lame excuses:

but **does not accept them **

There was a meeting in January where this seems to have been discussed (see above) but after the January meeting, no-one dared to mention it again to Neary or Con Horan (his next in line):

The matter was buried as our banks went into meltdown

Since August, its been hell

and the Committee heard the usual “if only we had more staff” excuse

but the regulators will have to up their game seriously before we’ll give them more resources:

The “Authority” concludes by patting itself on the back but then lists a whole series of improvements which imply serious inadequacies in the existing systems.

It gives a prefunctory nod to the “lost letter” excuse

but not before it gets in a nice dig at the senior staff

All told, the Statement is not likely to inspire confidence. It doesn’t come up with the answers and its commitment to do better sounds a lot like a door being shut on an empty barn.

The ball is now in Brian Lenihan’s court - does he pretend this report is conclusive (at least he has a head on a plate) or does he push for more detail. It is not clear if he will get to see the report (or will he do a Barry Andrews and not read it!)

What investigation are they referring to here?

The IFSRA statement which announced the review by a committee which has now reported, the Authority also “instigated a review to determine the treatment of directors’ loans in the institutions covered by the Government guarantee so as to ensure that proper standards are being observed.”

I assume this is what they are referring to (assuming a “review” could be an investigation).

Excellent post Lefournier. The language of official reports tends to the “damning by faint praise”, it would be extraordinary for someone to be singled out and named. But this is as damning as they come.

Thanks for summarising my long-winded message,YM. They didn’t have to call Neary a liar, they just left him swinging out there.

Yeah, him and the rest who aren’t mentioned as having done their job properly. Omission is damnation in these reports.

Indeed. It was even accompanied by a “retirement”

“Captain, our shields are down ! We cannot take any more hits”

Just a key bit of information: the Financial Regulator is not subject to FOI requests. This state of affairs has prevented conclusive reporting on a number of key stories since the crisis began in late July 2007. Among them: Sachsen Bank and SIVs on the ISE, alleged ‘market abuse’ relating to Anglo shares, Sean Quinn’s investment in Anglo and related inappropriate intra-group loans, the hierarchy of liquidity needs among the (now) covered institutions leading up to the overnight government guarantee, the true level of credit impairments (including interest roll-ups and restructuring) among covered institutions.

I understand the FR’s exemption from FOI is to protect competitively sensitive information from the entities it regulates. Two points: it is simple to disclose general information without naming banks specifically; there is no competitive reason to entitle a regulated entity to hide directors’ loans. I don’t see why the regulator can’t use discretion in such cases, especially since the ‘authority’ is happy to name and shame every two-bit insurance broker who doesn’t tick the right boxes on the reams of forms he has to fill out to get authorised.


The interest roll-up is my biggest concern. I,ve looked through a number of reports, but found nothing.

I’ve posted on this before. One potential scandal is how a bank would treat this interest accrual. I don’t see it in their financial statements. I suspect that it may be included as interest income. So the potential exists that banks are declaring profits on bad loans. You’d also want to see how roll-up loans can qualify as non-performing as there are no scheduled repayments until the final bullet payment.

Maybe its just my tin foil hat on too tight but it seems to me that senior posts are always made to people in their early 60’s. A sensible response would be, “sure they have a lifetime of experience and are the best for the job”. Cynical me would mention that since they are so close to retirement they can easily fade away into the back round and keep the secrets of the major fuck ups that they witnessed/were party to. Further…excuse me… there is a group of men at the door…back in a sec…

Circuit breakers are purposely weaker than the key equipment they protect. Look at the way a quango has been created for every function of government that could possibly result in blame or responsibility falling on a minister.

I don’t know why they couldn’t simply make the recommendation that any loans made to Corporate officers need to be reported in the company reports; not just those that are outstanding.

This simple step would remove the whole B&B’ing crap & clearly show what loans were made.