Wednesday 21 March 2018

Lane promises a more open Central Bank by publishing meetings

Governor Philip Lane, centre, with Institute of Directors chief executive Maura Quinn and president Des Lamont at the Institute’s lunch in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Jason Clarke
Governor Philip Lane, centre, with Institute of Directors chief executive Maura Quinn and president Des Lamont at the Institute’s lunch in Dublin yesterday. Photo: Jason Clarke
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Governor Philip Lane has promised to publish the minutes of meetings of the Central Bank Commission in what has been described by the regulator as an attempt to enhance transparency.

Only the minutes of the meetings involving Governor Lane are being published, and not those involving his predecessor, Patrick Honohan.

Data on salary and pay scales at the regulator was published by Dame Street yesterday, showing the average salary in 2015 at just over €60,000.

The Central Bank Commission is comprised of Governor Lane; Deputy Governor Cyril Roux; Derek Moran, the Secretary General of the Department of Finance; Professor John FitzGerald; former Bank of Ireland chief executive Michael Soden; former politician and trade union leader Des Geraghty; Dr Alan Ahearne of the National University of Ireland, Galway; Professor Blanaid Clarke; Patricia Byron, Director General of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI); and the head of the General Secretariat Division of the Central Bank, Neil Whoriskey.

The Commission manages and controls the affairs and activities of the bank and ensures that its financial regulation and central banking functions are co-ordinated and integrated.

Governor Lane said information on the supervision of regulated firms and market-sensitive financial operation activities cannot be disclosed.

The minutes will be published about six weeks after each meeting, with those from the first meeting chaired by Governor Lane in December due to be released by early next month.

"During my tenure as Governor, my aim is to build on the progress that has been achieved in recent years in recasting the Central Bank as an efficient central bank and financial regulator," Governor Lane told the Institute of Directors lunch in Dublin yesterday. "In particular, I am firmly committed to ensuring that the Central Bank fulfils its critical social responsibility towards consumers of financial services and the general public."

The Irish Independent made an unsuccessful Freedom of Information request last year for copies of the minutes of meetings held over the period of a year by the Central Bank Commission.

In its response, the Central Bank said only one minute fell within the scope of the 2014 FOI Act, and that concerned the deliberations of the Bank in January 2015 regarding the mortgage deposit rules.

Access to that document was refused, however, as the Central Bank argued that it related to deliberations by the Commission on the introduction of the rules, and included opinions, advice, recommendations and the results of the consultations considered by the bank.

The bank said it wasn't in the public interest to release the record, claiming bodies should be able to settle on policy without disruption; the deliberative process regarding the rules remains ongoing; and that extensive information on the deliberative process had already been published prior to the introduction of the rules.

Meanwhile, separate data published by the bank yesterday showed the average salary last year was just over €60,000, with wages ranging from €24,250 for an entry level Bank Officer, to €170,983 for a director. Governor Lane is entitled to a gross salary of €254,048, while Mr Roux earned a gross pay packet of €310,000 in 2014.

In his speech Governor Lane said that as the bank's mandate expands, continued growth in staff is expected with an extra 150 people set to be brought in this year.

Irish Independent

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