Goodbody Stockbrokers fell into a pretax loss of €1.8 million in 2019, as fee and commission income declined and the company invested in technology, according to its latest set of accounts.
The accounts were signed off last June, a month before a planned €155 million sale of the company to Bank of China fell through amid uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 crisis. AIB subsequently agreed last month to repurchase Goodbody for €138 million, a decade after selling the business to Kerry-based financial services group Fexco and Goodbody management and senior staff.
The loss for 2019 compared with a €26.6 million profit for the previous year, which had been driven by the sale of the firm's stake in the Irish Stock Exchange as it was taken over by pan-European bourse operator Euronext. Sources said that Goodbody posted a profit of about €5 million last year.
Fee, commission and other income fell to €57.9 million in 2019 from €66.6 million for the previous year, though trading income from the firm’s own investments in securities rose to €6.97 million from €5.62 million.
Staff costs declined to €38.7 million in 2019 from €42.3 million. The company scrapped bonuses for staff for the reporting year.
The report also shows that an interest-free loan to managing director Roy Barrett fell to €18,880 at the end of 2019 from €80,000 a year earlier. The loan was a result of an overpayment to Mr Barrett of a bonus in 2016, which had been converted into a debt, to be repaid over time. Sources said last month that the remainder of the loan was paid back in 2020.
Mr Barrett confirmed to staff early last month, on the announcement of the AIB deal, that he will be stepping down after 25 years at the helm once the deal is completed. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Brian O’Kelly, currently co-head of investment banking at the firm, until a permanent replacement is selected.
Mr Barrett is set to receive about €10.6 million from the sale of his 7.7 per cent stake in Goodbody to AIB, while Mr O'Kelly is poised to get €4.5 million from the sale of his stake and fellow director Stephen Donovan €2.3 million. Fexco is on track to get €70.4 million for its 51 per cent stake, subject to the deal being approved by regulators.