Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Members' conflicts of interest

Buried in an article on the 70% pay rise for the head of NAMA is some information on Oireachtas insiders covering their own asses: conflict of interest, anyone? The lists of members' interests should include liabilities as well as assets.

Meanwhile, claims that the new financial regulator has been engaged in a sharp exchange of words with some members of the Dáil and Seanad have not been denied by the financial regulator.

Brian Lucey, associate professor of Finance at Trinity College, said he understands the financial regulator was heavily rebuffed by some of the members of the Dáil and Seanad when he inquired about loans they had with the banks that were transferring to NAMA in the months ahead.

Prof Lucey said the basis of his allegation came from within the Oireachtas. "I got this from a Dáil source", he told the Irish Examiner.

The public is entitled to know if TDs or senators have loans of "mortgages" that are part of the funds being transferred across to NAMA, he said. The first tranche of loans totalling €17bn is due to transfer to the bad bank by the end of the month.

Reports of the standoff with regulator Matthew Enderfield come days after he gave his first public speech. He promised an intrusive approach to regulation and enforcement at systemically important banks.

Banks can now expect 15-20 regulatory staff per bank looking at their operations, analysts said.

Prof Lucey told RTÉ it was "always going to be the case in a small country that there are political figures involved in banking".

His information was some TDs and senators reacted negatively to a line of enquiry being pursued with the members committee in the Oireachtas.

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