Restoring investor confidence
Early in 2016 the European Central Bank’s (ECB) single supervisory mechanism decided to carry out its first audit of Greece’s four systemic banks since it was set up in 2013. Greece’s leading bank turned to Alber & Geiger for help amid shareholder complaints over irregularities during the last round of capital raising. Assistance was required to ensure a standard and short regulatory scrutiny that would have not weakened further the image and investor confidence in the bank and its management.
Pressing EU banking regulators
Alber & Geiger approached directly the European banking regulators. We emphasized the importance of having a short investigation that would not harm the image of the bank and its management. Our team pressed the European Commission to explain to the European banking regulators that the respective departments in the European Commission had cleared the alleged irregularities, which were now the focus of their investigation.
A&G prepared a clear and concise message addressed to EU and German lawmakers and administrations that put the spotlight on the bureaucratic approach of the European banking regulators and the implications of a lengthy investigation on the bank itself, the Greek banking sector in general and ultimately on EU taxpayers’ money. We took the message to all the lawmakers seating in the relevant committees in the German Bundestag and European Parliament to highlight our concerns with the reasons that led to the investigation in the first place and the manner how it was being carried out. Alber & Geiger underlined also the failure to look at the big picture at a time when the Greek and European financial sector desperately needed confidence. We pressed lawmakers and officials in Germany and Europe to force the European banking regulators to commit to a short investigation and put the emphasis on stability. Failure to do so would have led to economic and social instability and would have required more EU taxpayers’ money to the rescue.
Maintaining financial and social stability
Six months into the mandate, the media campaign against our client and repeated calls against its management came to a halt. We helped facilitate the exchange of views between our client and the European banking regulators at the highest political level. By doing so, we helped prevent another wave of economic instability in Greece’s largest systemic bank.