Business Irish

Monday 5 December 2016

Staff-starved, but Central Bank allowing brain drain to Europe

Published 28/11/2015 | 02:30

The Central Bank headquarters in Dublin
The Central Bank headquarters in Dublin
Financial regulator Cyril Roux warns of strain to bank from exits. Photo: Tom Burke

The Central Bank is allowing staff to transfer to the European Central Bank, despite claiming it has too few employees in Dublin to supervise the banks, the Irish Independent has learned.

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Financial Regulator Cyril Roux said the Bank will lose more of its supervisory staff to the ECB next year, placing further stresses on the strength of banking supervision in Ireland.

Mr Roux said staff are attracted by the move to the new pan-European supervisory unit in Frankfurt in part because of the "much better" terms and conditions.

Add public sector pay restrictions in Ireland into the mix and the challenge of replacing those who have left, and it leaves the Central Bank under pressure, Mr Roux said.

The claims come amid controversy over retention schemes at the Central Bank put in place to ensure key staff do not leave.

"They [staff moving to Frankfurt] have been attracted by the exciting challenge of working abroad, in helping establish the SSM (Single Supervisory Mechanism), and the much better financial terms and employment conditions offered to them," Mr Roux told the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland Banking Union conference.

"A second wave of supervisors is expected to leave the Central Bank and other national competent authorities next year, as the ECB will be increasing its SSM headcount by 25pc," he said.

"Combined with the familiar constraint of FEMPI (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest), this will bring further stresses to the bench strength of banking supervision in the Central Bank, and to the challenge of replenishing once more our ranks."

However, a spokeswoman for the Central Bank confirmed that those who have gone to the SSM are essentially on secondment as they will be able to return to the Central Bank. She said 20 staff overall have left.

"Their positions here are filled on a specified-purpose basis until they return from SSM - none have permanently left as such," the spokeswoman added.

She confirmed that Dame Street is not obliged to agree to these secondments, but suggested it will not block them, despite the alleged staffing pressures.

"While we're not obliged to let staff take secondments, the Central Bank values secondment opportunities for staff and views them as an enabler to gaining valuable experience and enhanced skills," she said.

The claims come as staff at the Central Bank are to vote on a motion of no confidence in the management of the organisation amid the controversy over retention payments for certain staff. The Central Bank has denied it is paying bonuses in breach of Government policy, insisting there are two retention payment schemes.

Irish Independent

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