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Firm reviewing bank salaries paid its own staff €83,000 a year

CONSULTANTS Mercer Ireland, which is reviewing bankers' pay for the Department of Finance, paid its staff an average of €83,000 last year.

The global actuarial, human-resource and management-advice company was hired by the department in the last month to help it examine pay levels at the bailed-out banks.

Latest accounts filed with the Companies Office reveal that the Irish wing of the international firm employs 502 staff, 54 of whom are in management.

The documents show that the firm paid €38.32m in wages and salaries last year, as well as €3.51m in pension contributions. The combined figures give average renumeration.

This brings its pay bill before social-welfare costs are factored in to €41.83m -- the equivalent of €83,327 for each member of staff, on average.

When social-welfare costs are taken into account, the total wage bill was €45,999,963 last year. This is down from €47,108,692 in 2010, when the company had 38 more staff.

The Department of Finance said it had been carrying out a review of bankers' pay, which will cover pay levels across all the banks and at all levels.

The accounts for last year also show that revenue increased at Mercer Ireland by 8pc, year on year.

But costs shot up 12pc due to restructuring and investments in new products.

This resulted in operating losses of €3,430,292, compared to a loss of €4,244 in 2010. Total recognised losses amounted to €9,311,740.

The accounts reveal that the company's defined benefit scheme was also in a deficit.

Its directors' reports stated that the firm faced a number of challenges as a result of the economic climate.

It said: "The company faces a range of risks, particularly those associated with the recent economic downturn, which has led to cuts in staff for many clients and associated pension-scheme restructurings."

Irish Independent