Deputy governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Matthew Elderfield said his decision to leave the Irish financial regulator and return to the UK was for personal reasons and should not be viewed as a signal that he was leaving while the going was good.
It was announced yesterday that Mr Elderfield is to join Lloyd’s Banking Group where he will become director of conduct and compliance at the part-nationalised UK lender.
Speaking to media at the launch of the Central Bank’s annual report, Mr Elderfield said it was a “tough decision” to leave the Central Bank but after six years away from the UK (including more than two years in Bermuda) he felt it was “time to go back to London”.
“It’s really just a personal decision,” he said, adding that after attending the Olympic Games in London last year he decided with his wife to spend one more year in Ireland.
“It made me realise how much I missed London.”
Reflecting on his time here, Mr Elderfield said the Central Bank was now “better resourced”, had “stronger powers”, and was taking a “more assertive approach”to its role as a regulator.
Mr Elderfield earned €340,000 in salary and fees last year, the bank's annual report shows. This made him the highest paid executive at the regulator last year, with him earning more than Governor Patrick Honohan.
Mr Honohan “gifted” €63,324 of his €276,324 remuneration back to the exchequer last year.
Stefan Gerlach, deputy governor central banking, received €250,000 in pay plus a delegates allowance of €2,731.
Overall, staff costs at the Central Bank increased by 2.6 per cent or €2.7 million last year. Total staff costs amounted to €105.4 million.
The bank’s pension scheme had a deficit of €97.42 million at the end of 2012, up from €21.17 million in the previous year.The bank expects to pay just over €15 million in 2013 in employer contributions with staff paying €4.1 million.
The Central Bank recorded a record profit of €1.4 billion in 2012, up 19.8 per cent on 2011. After retained earnings are stripped out, surplus income of €1.1 billion was paid to the exchequer.
Its interest income fell by €1.07 billion to €2.59 billion while its interest expenses decreased by €983.5 million to €1.04 billion.
By the end of December 2012, Ireland had received €55.8 billion of the €67.5 billion in bailout funds due under the EU-IMF financial package.
The annual report also details the financial arrangements around the Central Bank’s acquisition of a new headquarters site in Dublin’s north docklands. This is the shell building that was once earmarked as a new head office for Anglo Irish Bank.
On November 13th last year, the Central Bank entered into an unconditional agreement to purchase a 300-year leasehold interest in the North Wall Quay site for a total consideration of €7 million. Additional levy payments in the region of €5 million will be payable to various “agencies and authorities in the coming years”.
Mr Honohan said the new building would allow the regulator to consolidate all of its staff on the one site from four locations currently. The exception will be those working in the currency centre in Sandyford.
“It will be much bigger than this building
,” he said, adding that it will incorporate an open-plan layout.
The move is due to be completed by 2015. Mr Honohan said no decision has been made on its current head office on Dame Street, although “some people” have expressed an interest in the building.