Sunday 17 December 2017

Central Bank warns of Brexit challenge as it aims to fill up to 200 staff vacancies

Cyril Roux of the Central Bank
Cyril Roux of the Central Bank
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The number of staff vacancies in the Central Bank is running at between 175 and 200.

Retaining employees is a "management challenge", Governor Philip Lane said, although he added the issues facing the Central Bank in that regard are no different to other bodies across the public and private sectors.

But former deputy governor Cyril Roux has said the attraction and retention of experienced and skilled staff remains a key challenge for the regulator, particularly in the context of Brexit.

And he warned that challenge could grow more acute if more firms set up shop here.

"Experience is a key factor in hiring staff and we know that it will be a continuing challenge for us to recruit and retain the highly skilled people that are needed to effectively supervise sophisticated financial services firms," Mr Roux said, in an internal interview published with the Central Bank's annual report.

"This challenge will increase if and when more firms enter the jurisdiction and begin staffing up."

Asked if he agreed with Mr Roux, Governor Lane said it was "just a part of life" to deal with.

"You see this across not just the public sector ... but in the private sector also, given that employment has grown quite strongly, many firms, many institutions do have to deal with vacancies, do have to deal with potential issues. It is a management challenge but I think especially in the capital city, and I'm fairly sure it's the case for other regulators in financial centres, it's just part of life to deal with that problem."

The bank currently has just over 1,600 full-time equivalents, and it is aiming for about 1,800.

Staff numbers at the bank have already increased by more than 200 over the last two years.

The regulator last year made retention payments of €449,089 to 28 staff, compared with €38,009 to three staff in 2015.

The payments were made to staff identified as "target employees" to keep them at the Bank. The annual report said no further staff have been included in the policy since 2015 and no further payments are due.

Governor Lane, however, suggested this could change in the context of Brexit.

"With Brexit, maybe there will be situations in the future, I don't know," he said.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank reported a financial profit of €2.3bn last year. After retained earnings, surplus income of about €1.8bn has been transferred to the Exchequer.

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