No suspected criminal activity found at Davy, Oireachtas told
‘Live supervisory matter’ but regulator declines to say if action likely against individuals
Derville Rowland speaking to the Oireachtas finance committee on Tuesday.
The organisation is obliged by law to report any suspected incidents of criminality to An Garda Síochána and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) that it comes across.
“I can confirm that in the course of this very meticulous and careful investigation, we did not form suspicion to support reports to other agencies,” Ms Rowland told the Oireachtas finance committee on Tuesday. Both she and the bank’s deputy governor, Ed Sibley, faced questions on the Davy scandal.
However, Ms Rowland said that she intends “to have proactive discussion” with both An Garda Síochána and the ODCE now that the Central Bank has completed its investigation into Davy. That inquiry resulted in the regulator announcing last week that it had fined the firm €4.1 million and reprimanded it. She indicated that the talks will be part of ongoing and routine dialogue with other authorities.
The official said the Davy situation remains “a live supervisory matter” but declined to comment on whether the regulator will take action against individuals. Still, she highlighted that the Central Bank has a “track record” of taking action against individuals.
“This is a live supervisory issue,” she said. “We are absolutely focused on this. All options are being looked at.”
The regulator’s investigation found that that 16 staff, including top executives, sought to make a profit by taking the other side of a bond deal involving a client in 2014 – without telling him or the firm’s compliance team.
The Central Bank concluded that Davy breached EU market rules by not identifying whether a conflict of interest arose from the deal. It also found that the firm circumvented its personal account-dealing framework completely by not informing compliance officials of the transaction at the time.
“The enforcement investigation certainly caused a day of reckoning for Davy with respect to their governance, conduct and culture,” said Ms Rowland.
Ms Rowland said that the Central Bank is precluded from identifying members of the consortium of 16 involved in the transaction. The deal was led by a committee within the consortium comprising six people, according to sources.
Group of 16
These were: former chief executive Brian McKiernan; former deputy chairman Kyran McLaughlin; former head of bonds Barry Nangle, all of whom resigned on Saturday as Davy rushed to contain the biggest crisis in its 95-year history. The committee also included former Davy bond specialist Tony O’Connor, one-time chief executive Tony Garry and former head of institutional equities David Smith.
The Irish Times named five other individuals on Tuesday that were part of the 16. But these were not members of the committee of senior executives within the consortium, according to sources. None of the 16 are now working with the firm, after Davy moved on Monday to close its bond desk.
Oireachtas finance committee members also pressed the Central Bank officials on the ultimate ownership of Davy, with the 16 involved in the deal said to own at least a third of the business. Ms Roland said that the regulator was “highly focused on this issue”.
Minister of State at the Department of Finance Seán Fleming said on Sunday that Davy needed to “very promptly” address concerns around the fact that former senior executives involved in a controversial bond trade remain major shareholders in the group.