'Exceptional' performance drives NTMA's near €500,000 payouts
The number of staff at the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) receiving bonuses has almost quadrupled, with 60 staff receiving almost €500,000 in performance-related payments for last year.
In 2015, 16 staff at the State's debt management agency received performance-related payments in respect of 2014, totalling €79,200.
However, the figure soared to €492,500 last year, with 60 staff sharing performance-related awards for "exceptional performance".
The NTMA, which last year issued €13bn of bonds at low yields and through the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (Isif) committed €759m to Irish investments, refused to be drawn on the detail of the increases.
However, no bonus payments were made to any member of the senior management team either in respect of last year or 2014.
Some 258 NTMA staff shared a €1.9m bonus scheme in 2010, but the numbers fell dramatically in 2011 when just five staff shared €62, 610.
"Performance-related payments are made in accordance with parameters approved by the Agency's non-executive Remuneration Committee," said the agency in its annual report, adding that such payments are subject to the approval of its Remuneration Committee.
Last week the NTMA, whose Chief Executive Conor O'Kelly has warned that there would be a bigger hit to the Irish economy than the estimates from the Department of Finance suggest, completed an auction of Irish Treasury Bills, selling the target amount of €500 million.
The annual report shows that the NTMA made so-called retention payments totalling €120,000 to four members of staff last year, and a €60,000 payment to one member of staff in 2014.
"These payments were made on a limited and exceptional basis in order to retain the expertise and experience of key staff in critical business areas," the report noted.
However, the NTMA said the practice of entering into employment contracts providing for retention payments has been discontinued.
The retention scheme only applies in circumstances where staff members at the agency have been made redundant and meet other requirements.
Some 50 staff at Nama were placed on garden leave last year as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme.
The scheme cost €5m last year, with €3.6m relating to Nama.
The average period of garden leave for the 50 staff, under the redundancy scheme, was three months.
In addition to those that were accepted on the case by case scheme, 18 staff were placed on garden leave, with 15 assigned to Nama.
Other than the staff assigned to Nama and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), both of which fall under the NTMA umbrella, the NTMA had 431 employees at the end of last year.
Of those, five received total pay packets of between €300,001 to €325,000; one received between €350,000 and €375,000 Chief executive Conor O'Kelly earned a base salary of €476,364, plus taxable benefits (health insurance) of €2,183.
The agency also made a contribution of 18pc of salary to Mr O'Kelly's pension.