Comment les sociétés de conseil manipulent la gestion des pays européens en crise
Alvarez and Marsal, BlackRock, Oliver Wyman, Pimco: The names mean nothing to the average European.
But the financial consultancies have played a central role in all the eurozone bailouts and have so far invoiced taxpayers in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain over €80 million.
Their “independent” expertise is used by the “troika” of international lenders - the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - to decide how much countries or banks need to prevent a default.
They are often hired without a public tender, posing questions on transparency and accountability.
Why do they do it?
The question arises as to why these firms keep on being hired and what motivates them to seek troika-related work.
Neither BlackRock, Oliver Wyman, Pimco or any of the other consultancies and audit firms were available for comment.
But Constantin Gurdgiev, a finance lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, says lack of expertise in central banks is one reason.
He told EUobserver that “during the pre-crisis boom in credit creation, national central banks of countries with rapid credit expansion lost core personnel competencies and skills to staff migration to the private financial services providers.”
He added that the remaining staff “often performed mechanical tasks of collating and repackaging” data submitted by banks, but “lost the key skills to actively investigate banks’ balance sheets or draw up business performance models.”
The troika’s demand for data and for management of crisis reforms were more than central banks could supply.
Hiring big names in the consultancy business also lent governments in bailed-out countries more credibility, especially in financial markets.
The “external validation” of the US firms gave the banking loss estimates a “perceived objectivity” which markets could live with, Gurdgiev said.
Richard Boyd Barrett, a left-wing Irish MP who tabled several parliamentary questions on BlackRock Solutions, is more cynical.
He told this website the major consultancies and auditors are “part of the same golden circle of bankers and government officials that caused the financial crisis in the first place.”
Another source said the consultancies’ main motive is not multi-million euro fees, but “contact” with government people.