Davy Lashed by Prime Minister as Sale Speculation Mounts

Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheal Martin branded behavior at Davy, the nation’s top securities firm, as a “disgrace,” amid growing speculation the company may be sold.

“What happened in Davy was absolutely unacceptable,” Martin said in parliament in Dublin on Wednesday. “It has damaged not just the company but again the reputation of financial services in Ireland.”

Martin’s comments come as the fallout from a central bank investigation into a deal involving executives and staff at the broker continued to reverberate. Bank of Ireland Group Plc made an approach to Davy about a possible deal, the Irish Times reported Wednesday, while the business may be formally put up for sale, The Currency said.

Davy management bought the broker from Bank of Ireland in 2006, in a deal valuing the broker at about 350 million euros. The firm is now wholly owned by management and staff. Spokesmen for Davy and Bank of Ireland declined to comment.

Last week, regulators concluded that the firm displayed a “lack of candor” and provided “misleading details” during an investigation. The case involved a consortium of employees buying bonds from a client in a personal capacity, without the customer knowing they were the buyers. Davy was fined 4.13 million euros ($4.9 million).

Davy Chief Executive Office Brian McKiernan subsequently resigned along with deputy chairman Kyran McLaughlin and head of bonds Barry Nangle. The firm closed its bond desk on Monday after Ireland’s debt office stripped it of its role as a primary dealer in Irish government bonds.

The firm employs more than 700 staff and manages more than 14 billion euros of client assets, according to its website.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.