Mike Aynsley sees some similarities to Anglo in new job

Former Anglo chief positive about Somalia money transfer business

Mike Aynsley: “The Anglo emphasis internally was rather negative, as it was working out past problems created by bad management practices”

Mike Aynsley: “The Anglo emphasis internally was rather negative, as it was working out past problems created by bad management practices”

Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 01:00

Somalia, if it features in news reports, is inevitably linked to pirates, terrorism and religious extremism. Like the former Anglo Irish Bank, which Mike Aynsley was appointed by the Irish State to run, its reputation is far from pristine.

However, like Anglo which funded many good businesses as well as bad ones, there is also another side to the story.

Somalia has a resident population of 10 million and a vast diaspora, the majority of whom want the country to get back on its feet after a civil war that lasted from 1991 until 2006.

Emigrant remittances

Emigrant remittances from the millions of Somali living abroad, estimated at $500 million a year from Britain alone, and several billion worldwide, has a vital part to play in the reconstruction of an economy, which was once a major commercial hub in the region.

Working with Dahabshiil, the biggest player in distributing this money, is the new challenge facing Australian-born Aynsley.

Aynsley said he was introduced to Dahabshiil by a third party who he said: “knows me well and specialises in helping governments and regulators solve complex financial sector problems in difficult parts of the world.”

He said Dahabshiil was a business, but not one that ripped its customers off. “Dahabshiil meets and beats the 5 per cent target (for fees) set by both the G8 and G20 for remittances costs. This is in contrast to a number of other large global firms, which a recent Overseas Development Institute report found charge an average of 12 per cent – double the global average.” He said Dahabshiil had a “comprehensive compliance system” to prevent it being used to funnel money to terrorists or criminals.

“No breach of compliance has ever been identified in regard to Dahabshiil’s procedures or controls,” he said. “Dahabshiil’s strong compliance record and its reputation is reflected in the fact it’s a trusted partner of the United Nations and other reputable international agencies,” Aynsley said.

Money transfer

Running a bank in wind-down versus helping an international money transfer business, was, he said, similar in some respects. “Clearly Anglo was a lot larger and in a very different business but there are a lot of similarities,” Aynsley says. “I think one of the key parallels is that both jobs focus on resolving very difficult problems that impacted on the countries’ citizens.”

“The Anglo emphasis internally was rather negative, as it was working out past problems created by bad management practices. The Dahabshiil focus is a very positive one as it is working on assisting the organisation to evolve and develop its business practices so it can continue to do its very important job of helping a nation recover and re-build in a post-conflict environment,” he said. “Both are very satisfying but for different reasons. Dahabshiil is most definitely a ‘force for good’.”