Friday 20 July 2018

'Brain drain' fears as 33 top staff leave the Central Bank

Highest number of vacancies at the Central Bank is in the area of Financial Conduct
Highest number of vacancies at the Central Bank is in the area of Financial Conduct

Gordon Deegan

Concern was expressed yesterday over the exodus of senior staff at the Central Bank.

Fianna Fáil Finance spokesman Michael McGrath believes that pay could be an issue after the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, revealed that 33 personnel at the top tiers of the bank have departed over the past three years.

Some of the high profile departures include former Governor Patrick Honohan, Deputy Governor Cyril Roux and the former head of Credit Institution and Insurance Supervision, Fiona Muldoon.

The gulf in pay between the top tier at the Central Bank and high earners in the financial services area is underlined by Ms Muldoon earning €898,000 as CEO of FBD Insurance in 2016.

Her basic salary of €450,000 was topped up by a bonus of €315,000, other benefits worth €43,000 and a €90,000 pension contribution.

In a written Dáil reply, Minister Donohoe confirmed that the Central Bank has lost one Governor, two deputy Governors, seven directors, seven heads of division and 16 heads of function between the start of 2015 and the end of last year.

The greatest loss has been in the 'Central Banking' area where 11 high-ranking personnel have left over the period with 10 leaving the Prudential area.

A further seven has departed the Financial Conduct area with five leaving 'Operations' during the same three years.

Yesterday, Deputy McGrath said: "I have to say that I am concerned at the turnover of very senior staff", adding:"The departure of 33 people at a very senior level in the Central Bank over the past three years underlines the serious difficulty the organisation has had in attracting and retaining people with the right experience and and expertise."

He pointed out that "it represents a major loss of corporate knowledge". He added: "I am not aware that the Central Bank has raised a concern about remuneration levels directly with Government even though it is a reasonable assumption that the high turnover of staff, particularly at senior levels, is attributable to the gulf in pay with the private financial services sector."

Last month, Minister Donohoe confirmed that there were 125 vacant positions at the bank. The highest number was in Financial Conduct at 47.

The bank employs 1.735 people and the area with the second highest number of vacant posts was Central Banking with 31 vacancies, including 14 posts open at its Corporate Affairs section. The bank has been expanding its workforce in recent years - at the end of December 2016 it had 1,599 staff, up 235 over the past 12 months.

For the first six months of last year, the Central Bank spent €420,004 on recruitment. The spend between January and June last year followed an outlay of €1m in 2016. The companies to receive the highest amounts in 2017 were OPES Business Partners Ltd on €168,00; MediaVest Ltd, which got €50,996; Sigmar Recruitment with €39,974; Premier Recruitment (€27,779) and Linkedin (€27,011).

A spokeswoman for the bank said last night: "As would be expected in any large organisation, recruitment for specialised positions across the Central Bank is challenging and turnover is higher than optimal in certain areas, particularly in Financial Regulation."

She said the turnover rate "has been decreasing in recent years based on year-end data", adding that it "continues to proactively fill vacancies as they arise and staff numbers increased by 8.7pc from 2016 to 2017, following a 5.5pc increase in the previous period.

"The Governor of the bank has previously indicated that where further resources are necessary due to an expanded mandate of regulated and supervised firms, the bank will increase staff numbers as necessary.

"The Central Bank has the ability to effectively re-prioritise to meet any increased level of demand and complexity."

Irish Independent

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