Bitter row as brokers' merger talks break down
A BITTER row over pay has broken out between the Irish Brokers Association and the PIBA (Professional Insurance Brokers Association) following the breakdown of merger talks.
PIBA chief executive Diarmuid Kelly wanted a salary of €200,000 plus a pension if he got the top job in the merged body, an internal IBA documents seen by the Irish Independent shows. If he did not end up a boss of the merged entity he was seeking redundancy of €400,000 gross.
The two bodies had been negotiating for a year on combining into one representative group.
PIBA has around 873 members, while the IBA has 420.
It had originally been agreed that the chief executive of the merged body would be chosen by consultancy Deloitte.
But, according to the IBA document circulated to members, PIBA changed tack in September and wanted a selection committee made up of represen- tatives of the two bodies.
One member of the selection committee would be chosen by PIBA boss Mr Kelly and another chosen by IBA chief executive Ciaran Phelan.
Whoever lost out would have to leave the new organisation.
"If Mr Kelly were successful he required a salary of €200,000, plus pension. There would not be any bonuses," the IBA document stated.
The IBA said it was "quite aghast that PIBA" was making new proposals on how the head of the merged body would be chosen and how much he or she would be paid.
"We believe the proposed salary is unacceptable in the current recession. The fact that such a salary is suggested demonstrates just how disconnected such a proposal is from the realities facing our members and would rightly attract huge criticism."
The IBA claims that the rival body had tried, at the last minute, to re-negotiate issues that it had thought had been put to bed.
It also complained that PIBA had given the IBA less than an hour's notice that PIBA was calling off the merger talks.
Asked for a response, Mr Kelly said the board of PIBA was disappointed that the merger talks had to end.
PIBA did not feel it would have been able to sell the deal to its members.
Asked about the IBA sending out the four-page document on the ending of the talks to its members, Mr Kelly said he felt this was inappropriate.
But he did not want to get into an argument through the media with the IBA as PIBA was anxious to maintain a civil relationship between the State's two main broker bodies.