I think at this stage, we can conclude that Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has dropped the ball on remuneration in the banking sector and he just doesn’t have the stomach to confront the issue. The €120,000 Mercer expert report that was commissioned six monhs ago was little more than a tactic to deflect attention and kick the subject into the long grass.
Meanwhile, any attempt to hold the Government to account on banking remuneration is dismissed, stonewalled or ignored. In July 2012, we learned that IBRC had appointed Kevin Blake as its chief risk officer but it was only in November 2012 that we learned that Kevin is being paid more than €500,000 per annum and that Minister Noonan had personally approved the salary. This was months after IBRC, in which Minister Noonan is the sole shareholder of 100% of the shares, had comprehensively spurned the Minister’s request for salary reductions. Surely the Minister wasn’t powerless on this occasion also.
So, we know IBRC is managing a loan book which is about 30% less than NAMA’s. We know it employs a similar number of people, has a similar lifespan and deals with similar issues. For every Sean Quinn at IBRC – in the sense of time taken with litigation – there has been a Paddy McKillen or Johnny Ronan at NAMA. Both NAMA and IBRC are work-out vehicles for mostly property loans and both will conclude their work by 2020. If IBRC has to pay €500,000 per annum for a chief risk officer, then surely it’s a reasonable question to ask how much NAMA pays for the same role.
In the Dail yesterday, the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty asked Minister Noonan who exactly undertook the role of chief risk officer at NAMA and how much were they paid. The answer? Look at the NAMA annual report, work it out for yourself and salary information is confidential.
You can see the NAMA organisation structure here, and it is not at all obvious who undertakes the role of chief risk officer or indeed if there is any such role at NAMA – and if IBRC is paying over €500,000 a year for the role, should NAMA be worried that it doesn’t have one? Donal Rooney is NAMA’s chief financial officer and the role may be subsumed in his role.We know that the maximum salary at NAMA is that of the CEO, Brendan McDonagh who is on €365,500 in 2012 after taking a 15% waiver for this year from his standard €430,000 a year. So,if there is someone undertaking the chief risk officer role at NAMA, they’re earning less than €400,000 which begs the question, why does IBRC have to pay more.
But for a finance minister who has dropped the ball, such matters are no longer of any real interest.
The full parliamentary question and response are here.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: further to the announcement by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation in which he is the sole shareholder of 100% of the shares, that IBRC has engaged a person (details supplied) as chief risk officer and newspaper reports that he has approved a salary for them of more than €500,000 per annum, if he will identify the person or persons at the National Asset Management Agency who undertake a role equivalent to chief risk officer; and if he will confirm the salary or salary range payable by NAMA for those undertaking that function.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: I am advised by NAMA that its Annual Report for 2011, which is available on the NAMA website, http://www.nama.ie, provides details on its organisational structure, staffing resources and operating costs. Details of remuneration bands have been set out in recent in response to Parliamentary Question 47865/12. The NTMA, which assigns staff to NAMA, does not disclose details of the remuneration of individual members of staff.