Wednesday 23 October 2019

TH€ PUNT: Barnier eyes 'excessive' execs

Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier

IT'S the well-worn argument that to attract the best business brains, you must pay top dollar for their services.

The counter-argument holds true about what you will end up with by paying peanuts.

But the European Union's financial services chief wants to change all that by questioning "excessive" bonuses and calling for greater scrutiny of golden parachute pay packages to departing executives.

Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner for Internal Markets and Services, feels that the financial crisis had shown that excessive bonuses can lead to excessive risk taking and that big bonuses also raise issues of social justice.

He expounded his views in a video message to delegates attending European Corporate Governance conference, 'Actions for Better Business', which opened in Dublin yesterday.

"Lucrative severance packages for managers who have underperformed are the subject of increasing criticism," the commissioner remarked.

"Shareholders now care about the relationship between executive compensation and the performance of the company."

Corporate governance and company law can be heavy going at the best of times and prompted one observer yesterday to conclude that it was a "yawnfest".

But Jobs and Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton, who opened the conference, thinks otherwise and believes that one of the lessons of recent years is that good corporate governance is a key factor in the long-term performance of companies.

"I am absolutely convinced that a robust governance system is integral to a sustainable and entrepreneurial business environment," he told delegates.

NAMA doesn't miss a trick

You can say what you like about them, but NAMA's Brendan McDonagh and Frank Daly never miss a trick.

News that outsourcing giant Capita is planning to double in size over the next three years, potentially creating 800 jobs, is in no small part thanks to its status as NAMA's favourite loan manager.

Capita's win of the lucrative contract to "service" €41bn of NAMA loans previously handled by staff at liquidated IBRC is certainly one factor in the ambitious plans.

Where better to house such an ambitious firm than at No 2 Grand Canal Square, designed by Daniel Libeskind, architect of choice for the world's plutocrats.

If the office block developed by Joe O'Reilly just happens ultimately to be controlled by those canny NAMA boys, well The Punt is sure that's pure coincidence.

It's a happy one though, that ensures the rent on the state-of-the-art offices will ultimately roll back into Treasury Building just up the road on Grand Canal Street.

This will recoup at least some of the fees NAMA is paying to have all those former Anglo loans managed.

Fitting reversal of fortunes

THERE seems to be something right and proper about the former offices of a financial institution being converted back to residential use. Just such is happening at an upmarket Dublin address in Fitzwilliam Place.

The premises was formerly home to BNP Paribas Real Estate, which put the property up for sale some time ago.

It marketed it as a "magnificent mid-terraced four-storey over basement Georgian property that has been well maintained by its former occupiers".

It added that the 4,200 sq ft premises would be "ideal for a start-up business or alternatively could be converted to residential".

There is also a mews at the rear, which was being rented out at an annual rent of €14,000. That lease expired in March.

An initial planning application was lodged in January by the new owners of the property, a Mr and Mrs D Gunning (who on Earth could they be, the Punt wonders?).

They told the council they want to convert the protected structure to a snazzy five-bedroomed home.

The council has been seeking a lot of extra information, including a detailed conservation report.

It looks like the conversion might take a little longer than expected – much like the financial sector.

Irish Independent

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