Ireland taps Bermuda for financial watchdog chief

October 19, 2009

IRELAND/ DUBLIN, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Ireland has picked Matthew Elderfield, chief executive of the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA), as the new head of financial supervision at the Central Bank of Ireland, Governor Patrick Honohan said on Monday.

Elderfield, a British citizen who has eight years experience at the UK Financial Services Authority, will take up his position in January 2010, with a brief to help reform Ireland’s regulatory system after a series of banking scandals.

“He has very extensive experience of financial supervision and he has the qualities that are ideally suited to this very challenging role,” Honohan said in a statement.

The government decided to put the responsibilities of the central bank and financial regulator back under one roof earlier this year after controversies surrounding now nationalised Anglo Irish Bank.

Authorities have been investigating Anglo Irish Bank directors’ loans from their own bank, allegations of share price manipulation and claims it used multibillion euro transfers from assurer Irish Life & Permanent to boost its deposit base.

Honohan will oversee both the supervision of individual firms and the financial system generally, and Elderfield will report to him as financial regulatory chief.

At the Bermuda Monetary Authority Elderfield introduced a stress-test based capital requirement for banks to provide a buffer against the financial crisis and structured a government bailout of a local bank.

This year, Bermuda, a British territory in the Atlantic, moved to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) “white list” from its “gray list” of questionable tax jurisdictions.

(Reporting by Andras Gergely; editing by Patrick Graham) ((andras.gergely@reuters.com; +35315001518; Reuters Messaging: andras.gergely.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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