Wednesday 21 March 2018

Government urged to put consumer reps on Central Bank board

The Central Bank in Dublin
The Central Bank in Dublin

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

THE Government has been encouraged to appoint consumer representatives to fill two positions on the board of the Central Bank.

The positions pay almost €15,000 a year and there are at least 11 meetings.

A leading consumer body has criticised the advert for the positions which puts heavy emphasis on the need for those appointed to have accountancy skills.

More consumer representation is needed at the Central Bank, rather than accountancy expertise, the Consumers' Association said.

Appointments are made by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, after a panel of candidates is forwarded to his office by the State boards division of the Public Appointments Service.

Known as the Central Bank Commission, the body acts as the board of the regulator overseeing its activities.

It currently has six appointed members, but legislation allows it to have up to eight.

Although the advert seeking commission candidates makes reference to a need to have "relevant knowledge" of consumer interests, much of it references accountancy, risk management and corporate governance under the section listing skills candidates should possess.

Deputy chairman of the Consumers Association Michael Kilcoyne said experts were of little use when the financial system crashed in 2008.

"What we do not need is more financial experts. We need people to represent ordinary consumers. Most consumer representatives do not have expertise in risk management or accountancy," he said.

Existing appointed members of the commission include academics John FitzGerald, Alan Ahearne and Blanaid Clarke, banker Mike Soden, union official Des Geraghty, and Patricia Byron of the Society of Chartered Surveyors.

Irish Independent

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