Business Irish

Thursday 27 October 2016

Advisory firms who audited banks at centre of crash get State cash after it

Published 30/09/2015 | 02:30

Seamus McCarthy, the Comptroller and Auditor General arriving for the meeting of the Dail Public Accounts Committee at Leinster House yesterday
Seamus McCarthy, the Comptroller and Auditor General arriving for the meeting of the Dail Public Accounts Committee at Leinster House yesterday

Advisory firms Ernst & Young and KPMG, who audited institutions at the centre of the financial crisis, were among the main beneficiaries of the State spending afterwards.

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Outside consultants have been paid €152m by Government bodies for advice on stabilising the banking system since the collapse in 2008.

The sums were paid by the Central Bank, National Treasury Management Agency, the Department of Finance and the National Pension Reserve Fund.

The huge outlay was revealed in the annual accounts of the public services, published by the State spending watchdog, the Comptroller & Auditor General. The fees were paid between 2008 and the end of 2014.

Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy said four firms accounted for 60pc of the expenditure.

These were Arthur Cox (€33.1m), Blackrock Financial Management (€23.5mm), Ernst and Young (€20.9m) and KPMG (€13.2m).


Ernst and Young were auditors of Anglo and EBS before the crash, while KPMG audited AIB, Irish Nationwide and Irish Life and Permanent.

Mr McCarthy described the use of external advisors as "extensive" and said a panel of financial and legal consultants had already been put in place for future projects by the Department of Finance.

According to Mr McCarthy's report, some 19 firms accounted for €149m of the €152m consultancy spend.

Other major consultancy payments were made to Goldman Sachs (€13.2m), PricewaterhouseCoopers (€8.5m), Merrill Lynch (€7.3m), NM Rothschild & Sons (€7m), Boston Consulting Group (€5m), McKinsey (€4.4m), Deloitte and Touche (€4.2m), and Barclays Bank (€3.5m).

A breakdown of the fees showed:

  • Almost €60m was spent in connection with bank restructuring, recapitalisation and guarantees;
  • €31m was spent in relation to the 2011 financial measures programme, which reviewed the capital and funding assessments of the banks;
  • • €22.6m went on the European Central Bank's comprehensive assessment and stress tests of the banks last year;
  • €17.1m was spent on advice on residential mortgage arrears;
  • €10m went towards "advice of a general nature";
  • €4.2m was spent on advice on the credit unions;
  • €2.9m related to advice on Nama;
  • €2.5m was spent on "crisis management";
  • €2m was in connection with advice on bank nationalisations;
  • €400,000 went towards the Banking Inquiry.

The Central Bank and the National Treasury Management Agency told Mr McCarthy it recovered a large proportion of the consultancy costs from the banks, while the department said it had also recovered "some of the costs".

Mr McCarthy also said that €7.6m had been spent operating a dedicated banking and shareholding management unit in the department since August 2011.

The Comptroller & Auditor General provided an estimate of the outrun the State can expect to receive from various institutions as a result of the bank stabilisation measures.

He said the net cost to the State from the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, was estimated at €36.1bn at December 31 last year.

In AIB's case, the estimated cost to the State at the same date stood at €8.8bn, while for Permanent TSB, it stood at €200m.

However, Mr McCarthy said a net surplus of €2bn was expected in the case of Bank of Ireland.

He said that the ongoing cost of servicing debt on these institutions, largely due to the State's recapitalisation of Anglo, Irish Nationwide and AIB, would be over €2bn this year.

An estimated €1.2bn will be incurred in relation to IBRC in 2015, approximately €900m will be incurred in respect of AIB and €200m in connection with Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB.

He said this spending would be offset by income earned by the Central Bank on IBRC-related government bonds.

Irish Independent

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