Mike Soden: Aynsely 'brilliant guy'

Australian banker Mike Aynsley secured the top job at nationalised lender Anglo Irish after he was recommended to the government by former Bank of Ireland boss Mike Soden.

Soden, who worked with Aynsley at National Australia Bank (NAB) in Sydney and in London at Hoare Govett, when the broker was owned by Security Pacific, told the Sunday Tribune that he passed on Aynsley's CV to Anglo Irish chairman Donal O'Connor some time ago.

"He is a brilliant banker. We do not have people in this country who have the knowledge of the markets and of risk management like he has," Soden said of Aynsley. "He was in Tokyo and ran the operations for Security Pacific there. He then went to London and headed that operation up. He ran huge trading operations ? markets, derivatives and government bonds. He has an understanding of operations from A to Z." Soden departed BOI in 2004 after he accessed adult material on the internet.

Asked why Aynsley was prepared to accept the Anglo job, which comes with a pay cap of €500,000, Soden said: "He is a brilliant guy and sees this as a huge challenge. If I suspect he comes up [well] from this position somebody will grab him," in Ireland or elsewhere. Aysnley also has knowledge of cleaning up distressed assets when he returned to his native Australia following a bursting of a property bubble there in the 1990s, Soden said.

Aynsley's appointment has raised speculation that the Australian banker will lead mooted government plans to consolidate Irish banks into a third banking force to compete with AIB and Bank of Ireland. "I put his name forward to the government. I sent his CV to Donal O'Connor because he is one of the few people in the world who is capable for this job," Soden said.

Soden worked with Aynsley when Soden headed up the Hoare Govett broker in the late 1980s and at NAB's Global Wholesale Markets division from 1996.