Davy is Ireland’s biggest stockbroker. It was founded in 1926 on Dublin’s Westmoreland Street and moved in the 1980s to the former Hibernian Hotel site on Dawson. Having, as you might wish, been multiply bought and sold, it now is owned by staff and management. In addition to having a finger in every significant pie in tiny Ireland it has an invidious history.
The Planning Tribunal established that, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, it was making payments to the corrupt politician Liam Lawlor.
In 1992, Davy made a political donation of £5,000 to Bertie Ahern, which holed up in his personal account at Irish Life & Permanent.
The next year the firm was the subject of an Irish Stock Exchange inquiry over the abortive placement of the government’s stake in Greencore plc, the recently privatised former Irish Sugar Company. The then Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds for once let loose: “you employ professional people to do the job…it was not done in a professional manner”. The managing partner, Brian Davy, resigned.
In 1999 then CEO Kyran McLaughlin too resigned after his wife revealed documentation in his name indicating how to set up an impossible trust in Liechtenstein and a “Note to John Furze” (the man who ran the Ansbacher deposits in the Cayman Islands), to the Moriarty Tribunal. He later rejoined the board. Why not?
In a high-profile 2005 insider dealer case, the chief executive of Fyffes plc whose shares were the subject of the illicit trading said that he was “set up” by Davy, which acted as broker to both Fyffes and DCC, and misled by a presentation to investors by Davy on behalf of his company. He also told the High Court he believed there was an arrangement between Davy and the party found responsible by the courts of insider dealing for the purpose of selling the shares they held in his company.
During the boom Davy was criticised for continually writing glowing reports about its largest client and former owner, Bank of Ireland. In February 2008 with the price at €9.59 it wrote: “A low risk balance sheet and cheap valuation provide a safe place to hide…This is a low risk bank”. 13 months later the price was €0.12.
From Villager, May 2015