During the mayhem that was the release of the Central Bank stress test results yesterday – the video feed from the Central Bank that didn’t work, RTE’s truncated coverage of the news conference and the poorly planned choreography which saw Governor Honohan’s presentation clashing with Minister Noonan’s statement in the Dail – I was rushing to catch up with what Minister Noonan was announcing in terms of the future of the Irish banking sector. When I first heard the expression “pillar banks”, I thought he mean “PLAR banks” after the acronym used in the stress tests – Prudential Liquidity Assessment Review – but no, what he was setting out was a landscape in which there would be two “Irish” banks formed around AIB and Bank of Ireland. This entry examines why we need two, and why we simply can’t support one, an obelisk bank.
When you think of pillars, you think of columns supporting a structure like a building or in the case of Islam, a religion. I tend to think of the Stability and Growth Pact which we signed up to as part of our membership of the euro – that Pact is aimed at keeping a lid on inflation and not destabilising the finances of any one country and demands that countries adhere to two pillars of financial probity : keeping deficits below 3% of GDP and keeping debt below 60% of GDP. What I always found curious was that our Finnish friend, Olli Rehn, seemed to strongly defend the first pillar as he demanded Ireland cut its deficit to 3% by 2014 but seemed completely oblivious to the second pillar in foisting a debt to GDP of well over 100% on Ireland. But yesterday the use of the word “pillar” was to denote the two banks that would support a future Irish banking sector. But why two?
Firstly, we presently have more than two banks. Ignoring EBS, Permanent TSB (part of the Irish Life and Permanent group), Anglo and Irish Nationwide Building Society, we also have at least four “foreign banks” serving the domestic economy : Rabobank (through ACC Bank and Rabobank Online), KBC, Danske (through National Irish Bank) and Royal Bank of Scotland (through Ulster Bank). In addition there are other banks with a marginal presence, eg Nationwide UK is a High Street deposit taker only. And lastly we have the Post Office and credit union networks. So why do we need two “Irish” pillars, AIB and Bank of Ireland?
Competition? This is simply ridiculous. For example, it took the entry of the Bank of Scotland/Halifax into our market in the late 1990s to really shake up the mortgage market and today tracker mortgages, which were a particular feature offering of the new market entrants, account for most of our mortgages (over 400,000 out of the 780,000) – it was not AIB or Bank of Ireland that created such innovative products. More generally, the duopoly of AIB and Bank of Ireland did not deliver a competitive retail banking system for decades. In addition we now have a Financial Regulator that has over 500 staff – is that body not capable of ensuring that a single “Irish” bank provides competitive services. And what about the “foreign” banks, won’t they act to stop uncompetitive behaviour. And lastly remember that there are other potential entrants to our market – yes, the Cardinal consortium’s reported offer of €600m for EBS was rejected but there will be other interest in a domestic banking system once our economy recovers.
The particular reason I would prefer to see just one “Irish” bank is that if we let the other go, we can possibly see billions of euros in savings to our bailout bill by burden sharing with bondholders. And to remind us of the bondholder position in February 2011 as collated by the Central Bank of Ireland:
We might also see the €13.3bn capital requirement at AIB shared, for example through a debt for equity swap.
The announcements were made lickety-split yesterday and it has taken some time to appreciate what is being proposed. Isn’t it now appropriate to challenge the notion that we need two “Irish” banks?
Just look at the bank shares this morning BoI up 39% AIB up Bondholders are delighted and can’t believe their luck .The Irish taxpayers are again riding to their rescue and happy days are here again for them !
Meanwhile the ordinary people are going to have to put up with even more sever austere measures yet to be announced by the new government .The same people that declared only three weeks ago that not one cent more and Labour said Labours way of Frankfurt’s way. Well now we have the answer it’s going to be the Bondholders way lads.
So I guess we are all going to just waffle on here and elsewhere on the web and allow our country be fleeced of its natural resources ,ports, roads, forests and the health service’s for our people to be completely privatized and the next two generations become debt servicing slaves to the big German, British, and French banks. Meanwhile the likes of Dennis O Brine and Michael Lowry, Sean Fitz, Eugene Sheey and the rest of the Golden circle get rich on the bones of the Irish Nation.
Listening to the Vincent Browne show last night only succeeded in bringing me to despair
listen here : http://www.tv3.ie/shows.php?request=tonightwithvincentbrowne&tv3_preview=&video=34254
Central bank governor Patrick Honohan mentions a financial consultancy firm called Blackrock and I think we should look at these obscure individuals behind this company.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
BlackRock is the largest global investment management firm headquartered in New York City. It is one of the most prominent financial institutions in the US. The company acquired Barclays Global Investors in December 2009 under the BlackRock name, making it the largest money manager in the world.
As of December 31, 2010, BlackRock’s assets under management total $3.56 trillion across equity, fixed income, alternative investments, real estate, and advisory strategies. Through BlackRock Solutions, it offers risk management, strategic advisory, and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of clients with portfolios totaling approximately $9 trillion.
Founded in 1988 initially offering fixed income products, BlackRock has become a financial powerhouse while remaining out of the public eye. According to Ralph Schlosstein, CEO of Evercore Partners, a NY-based investment bank: “BlackRock today is one of, if not the, most influential financial institutions in the world.”
BlackRock serves clients in 60 countries, maintaining a major presence in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East. It has offices in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Princeton, Wilmington, London, Zurich, Paris, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Beijing, Sydney, Dubai, and various other cities. Blackrock has approximately 8,400 employees, including more than 700 investment professionals worldwide.
New York Headquarters
In 1988, Laurence Fink or as he is called, Larry Fink
and Robert Kapito
left First Boston to found a company that would provide clients with asset management services from a risk management perspective. Initially, BlackRock was under the umbrella of the BlackStone Private Equity Firm and called BlackStone Financial Management.
Larry Fink, joined Blackstone in 1988 as a partner, along with Robert Kapito, Barbara Novick, Sue Wagner and Ralph Schlosstein, former White House aide in the Carter administration. Before joining Blackstone, Fink, Kapito and Novick worked together at First Boston. As Managing Director at First Boston, Fink and his team pioneered the mortgage-backed securities market in the United States.
The original founders of BlackRock were Laurence Fink, Robert Kapito, Susan Wagner, Benett W. Golub, Charles Hallac, Barbara Novick, Keith Anderson and Ralph Schlosstein.
In 1992, Steve Schwarzman thought BlackRock Asset Management had peaked at $100 billion in assets under management. He wanted to cash out.
The BlackRock team spun out of Blackstone, changed their name to BlackRock and became an independent financial services firm. Larry Fink cut a deal with the PNC Financial Services Group when they purchased 70% of BlackRock and in 1999, with $165 billion in assets under management the firm went public.
BlackRock grew through lift-outs lift-outs and acquisitions. On January 28, 2005, BlackRock purchased State Street Research Management, a mutual-fund business that had previously been owned by MetLife. This acquisition added a sizable equity business to BlackRock’s funds, which had previously comprised mostly fixed-income securities. On September 29, 2006, BlackRock completed its merger with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM), halving PNC’s ownership and giving Merrill Lynch a 49.5-percent stake in the company. On October 1, 2007, BlackRock acquired the fund-of-funds business of Quellos Capital Management.  On April 30, 2009, BlackRock hired 43 employees from R3 Capital Management, LLC and took control of the $1.5 billion fund.
BlackRock Financial Management Inc. has been retained by the New York Fed to manage and eventually liquidate the assets held in a newly formed Delaware limited liability company (LLC) to fund the purchase of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) from the securities lending portfolio of several regulated U.S. insurance subsidiaries of AIG.
BlackRock fund is currently largest shareholder of Apple Inc., owning 5.5%, valued at more than $15 billion.
In December 2009 the company acquired Barclays Global Investors (BGI), giving it control of the iShares system. The division formerly branded BGI is headquartered in San Francisco, and also has research and portfolio management teams in London, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, and other cities, as well as client service offices in several additional major financial centres in Europe, North America, and Asia .
Barclays Global Investors
Barclays Global Investors: San Francisco Office
BGI began as units of Wells Fargo Nikko and Barclays Bank which merged in 1996. Later, it went on to help pioneer the exchange-traded fund business (through its iShares brand), which is a security that can be traded at any time, and whose value is based on the value of a basket of stocks, bonds or commodities. ETFs can give tax advantages and intraday trading mechanical benefits that other products such as mutual funds do not. Since the economics of indexed fund management are heavily influenced by economies of scale, Barclays grew to be the largest asset managing company in the world.
Since 2000, BGI’s active fund management business grew significantly, to the point where it accounted for approximately 50% of the firm’s revenue in 2006. However, like other actively managed hedge funds, it was badly affected in the quant fund meltdown in 2008. The passively managed iShares arm, in contrast, performed extremely well, accounting for about 45% of the revenue of the firm in 2008. At the end of 2008, the iShares division, with more than $290 billion in assets, accounted for about half the U.S. ETF industry. BlackRock’s global Exchange Traded Funds assets hit an all time high of $1tln ($1,032bln) at the end of December 2009, 45.2% above the $710.9bln at the end of 2008.
In April 2009, under a 45-day “go shop” clause, a bid by BlackRock was announced on June 11, 2009 for the whole of BGI, in a mixed cash-stock deal worth around $13.5 billion (37.8 million shares of common stock and $6.6 billion in cash).
As king Henry once asked, who will rid me of this pestilence?
OH! My Dark Rosaleen,
Do no sigh, do not weep!
The priests have gone over to the green,
They march along the Deep.
There’s wine from the royal ECB
Upon that “notion of the green”;
And Deutsche ale shall keep you in chains,
My Dark Rosaleen!
My own Rosaleen!
Would give me life and soul anew,
A second life, a soul anew,
My Dark Rosaleen!
O! the Erne shall run red
With redundance of blood,
The earth shall rock beneath our tread,
And flames wrap hill and wood,
And gun-peal, a slogan cry,
The Judgement Hour must first be nigh,
Ere you can fade, ere you can die,
My Dark Rosaleen!
The continuing support by the new irish Government of the toxic banks is killing off the Irish Nation.The same advisers like these lads are whispering into the ear of the new finance minster and they are not doing so without a hefty fee and mindful of their friends needs no doubt!In other words these guys know how to benefit from both sides of any potential trade
The number of mortgages outstanding in the Irish state is 786,164 and the total amount due on these mortgages is €99.08bn by the end February 2011. Surely it would be cheaper for the government to pay off all outstanding mortgages in the state and let the banks go down the toilet and close down NAMA.The cost of running NAMA over the next ten years is going to be 75 Billion alone .All we are doing is keeping insiders in well paid jobs and these insiders are consistently telling the rest of us to tighten our belts and take our collective austerity medicine
The notion of taking on more and more private bank debts is just mind-boggling madness
Are there any patriots out there today who will stand against this treacherous enslavement of our nation?