Bayne, Alexander Wallace (‘Alec’) (1902–73), civil servant and businessman, was born 21 February 1902, son of Thomas Alexander Bayne, iron-turner, of Carrignafoy, Cobh, Co. Cork, and Sarah Edith Bayne (formerly Prefscott; née Jones). His education at the Cork Grammar School, Kilkenny College, and Portora School, Enniskillen, punctuated by a series of scholarships, owed much to his teacher Dr Seale, who took his brilliant student from school to school. Entering TCD (1919), he became a scholar (1922) and graduated BA in classics (1923). Dissuaded from entering the Indian and British civil services by his tutors, he joined the Irish civil service (1925), placed seventh of the seven junior administrative officers appointed. These included Leon Ó Broin (qv), Maurice Moynihan (qv), John Garvin (qv), and Louis Fitzgerald. The only TCD graduate and protestant to be recruited by the Department of Finance in the early years of the Saorstát, he was recognised as exceptionally able. Briefly private secretary to Joseph Brennan (qv), secretary of the Department of Finance, he served likewise (1927–31) Brennan's successor, J. J. McElligott (qv). In December 1931 he was the first of the 1925 intake to be promoted to the position of assistant principal, and had responsibility for the bulk of the financial work arising out of the economic war. A member of the Irish delegation to the imperial economic conference in Ottawa (1932), he served on the committee of industrial finance (1933), which unanimously advised against the Agricultural Credit Corporation being empowered to undertake the work of industrial financing, and recommended the establishment of a new industrial credit organization; he also served as secretary to the second banking commission (1934–8). During the 1930s the promotion prospects of Bayne and other administrative officers became bleak as the administrative streams of the service were opened to the senior executive officer class. Resigning from the department (November 1938) after five of the six promotions to principal in 1932–8 went to officers drawn from the executive rather than the administrative class, he was appointed secretary and unofficial investment manager of the Irish Life Assurance Company. In 1940 he succeeded F. P. Symmons, the English-based managing director, and held that post until his retirement (1967). The merger that brought the company into being saddled it with heavy obligations, and it took until the mid 1950s for Bayne to put Irish Life on a firm footing; he reorganised the management structure and drastically streamlined the company, making it highly competitive. In the late 1950s Irish Life set up a separate division to market group pensions, and introduced the first unit-linked policy in Ireland (1964). In 1966 Irish Life branched into the British market and was the first life-assurance company in Ireland (and one of the first in the UK) to create a unit-linked fund for property. Bayne was also a director of Irish Estates Ltd. In his spare time he was honorary secretary and vice-president of the Rotunda Hospital, served on the boards of the Baggot Street and Royal City of Dublin Hospitals, and was chairman of the unsuccessful merger committee of five Dublin hospitals in 1958. He married Ivy Kathleen Faith, MB; they had three sons and three daughters and lived at Three Rock Lodge, Stepaside, Co. Dublin. He died 26 August 1973 in Stepaside, leaving estate valued at £27,425.
Business and Finance, 12 Feb. 1965; Erin E. Jucker-Fleetwood, ‘The Irish banking commission 1934–38’, Central Bank of Ireland Quarterly Review (winter 1972), 69–89; Ir. Times, 28 Aug. 1973; Maurice Moynihan, Currency and central banking in Ireland (1975); Ronan Fanning, The Irish department of finance (1978); David Mitchell, A peculiar place: the Adelaide Hospital, Dublin (1980); Irish Life, Offer for sale (July 1991)