Ireland names new banking regulator

Ireland has recruited its new banking regulator from the Bermuda Monetary Authority.

Matthew Elderfield, chief executive of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, will take up his position as head of financial supervision at Ireland’s central bank in January.

His selection follows an executive search conducted by Sir Andrew Large, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England.

Mr Elderfield joins Patrick Honohan, the Trinity College Dublin academic appointed last month as central bank governor.

Together with Mary O’Dea, who is in charge of consumer protection, the three will head the proposed new banking commission which will replace the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority.

Mr Elderfield, who is British, worked for eight years at the Financial Services Authority in London before joining the Bermuda Monetary Authority in 2007. He succeeds Pat Neary who took early retirement in January. This followed the scandal at Anglo Irish bank, where Sean FitzPatrick resigned as chairman after admitting he had not disclosed more than €100m of personal loans by temporarily transferring them to another financial institution just before Anglo’s financial year end. He will take over what will be a new regulatory system after the government decided to restore the central bank’s key role.

Last week Bertie Ahern, Ireland’s former prime minister, admitted that his 2001 decision to create a new regulator separate from the central bank had contributed to Ireland’s banking crisis. Mr Ahern told Irish radio that following the set up of the Irish Financial Services Authority he “never had a meeting with the regulators – the regulators never came near me”.

A report by Mazars, the consultants, found that the regulator had too many administrative staff and not enough people working in specialist regulatory areas and in prudential supervision.

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