Pay gravy train still alive and well at our 'bust' bank Anglo
Six top execs earn more than €500,000
Published 08/11/2012 | 05:00
SIX current executives of the former Anglo Irish Bank are on pay packages of more than €500,000 -- making a mockery of the half-million euro cap on bankers' pay.
The revelation will raise serious questions over why so many are being paid so much to wind down the bust bank, which is already estimated to have cost the taxpayer €30bn.
The Government says that the six staff were appointed before the Coalition came to power.
The six were named last night as CEO Mike Aynsley, chief financial officer Jim Bradley, head of Irish recoveries Mark Layther, head of asset recoveries Ton Hunersen, head of specialised asset management Richard Woodhouse and head of IBRC in the UK, Jim Brydie.
Details of the lavish packages will heap fresh pressure on the Government to clamp down on the pay and pensions of bankers.
The disclosure of the pay and pension packages for current staff at the bank comes as Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ruled out cutting the pensions of former bank executives.
But he is leaving the door open for special taxes targeting the massive payouts.
New figures reveal 232 staff at the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) are on salaries over €100,000.
The breakdown of salaries is made in a response by Finance Minister Michael Noonan to a question from Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath.
The remuneration packages of the IBRC staff in Britain and Ireland are listed as:
* 774 on wages up to €99,000.
* 146 on €100,000 -€149,000.
* 44 on €150,000 -€199,000.
* 24 on €200,000 -€299,000.
* 12 on €300,000 -€399,000.
* 0 on €400,000 -€499,000.
* 6 on over €500,000.
The Department of Finance says the six staff were appointed before the Government came to power.
Mr Noonan said the figures include pension payments, allowances and benefits.
Under the old rules, additional benefits, such as pension payments, came on top of the €500,000 salary cap.
The Government has changed the regulations so the entire package cannot exceed €500,000.
The pressure on the former chief executives of rescued banks to hand back some of their annual pensions continues to build.
This is especially the case after former AIB chief Eugene Sheehy finally bowed to the political and public outcry in the wake of Irish Independent stories to hand back a portion of his huge pension.
Mr Kenny welcomed the decision of the former banker to voluntarily give up a fifth of his pension.
In the Dail, Mr Kenny ruled out any action to cut the pensions of former bankers, or to set limits on annual payouts.
"It is not a case of the Government being able to say we are now reducing these pensions, because they are contractually arranged with the bank personnel for quite a number of years," he said.
However, he appeared to leave the door open for a tax on pensions, possibly as soon as the next Budget.
"We have made the point about premium payments and bonuses.
"Taxation is a matter for the Government to decide in respect of the drawing up of the budget for 2013," he said.
In a speech last night, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said the Government does not have "unfettered powers to confiscate property", including pensions.
A move to introduce a 100pc tax on pensions would be unlikely to survive a court challenge, he said. Mr Sheehy has said the move would see his annual pension drop to €250,000.
That indicates that his pension was less than the €529,000-a-year quoted at an Oireachtas Committee last week.
But it is still around half the pension of Brian Goggin, who ran Bank of Ireland when Mr Sheehy was at the helm of AIB.
Both men were in their positions during the height of the financial boom, presiding over a rapid expansion in lending to households, developers and businesses.
They were also involved in meetings with former Taoiseach Brian Cowen and the late Brian Lenihan in September 2008, where the political leaders bowed to pressure to guarantee the debts of the main banks.
That decision has cost the State €64bn and tipped the country into the crisis that eventually led to the EU/IMF bailout. The decision by Mr Sheehy to give up some of his pension income follows a week of media focus on the issue.
Attention is now turning to other top executives who dominated the banks between 2000 and 2008, including BoI's Mr Goggin and Michael Fingleton of Irish Nationwide.
Bank of Ireland is refusing to comment on the pensions furore, but it is understood the bank has made no effort to recoup any executive pensions.
The former head of Anglo, Sean FitzPatrick, has already been bankrupted by his former employer over unpaid debts.
It means the bank is entitled to his share of pension, but not the share that is legally the property of his wife.
The chairmen of bailed-out banks, including Dermot Gleeson at AIB and Richard Burrows at Bank of Ireland, do not receive pensions, because as non-executives they were never employees of the banks.