Central Bank ‘struggling to retain senior staff’

The loss of a key Central Bank executive will weigh on Ireland’s attempts to attract investment from London, according to the Fianna Fáil shadow finance spokesman.

Cyril Roux, deputy governor of the Central Bank, announced yesterday that he would step down from his position in April and take up a role in the private sector next September.

Mr Roux, who arrived from France in 2013, is the latest executive to leave the Central Bank. His predecessor Matthew Elderfield left the bank after three years and Stefan Gerlach, another deputy governor of the Central Bank, left the post last November.

Mr Roux, who was head of financial regulation, was responsible for vetting firms who were looking to set up an office in Dublin following Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. He said last month that his office had received roughly 100 preliminary inquiries about getting regulatory approval.

Michael McGrath, from Fianna Fáil, said the latest departure showed the Central Bank cannot compete with the remuneration arrangements offered by the private financial services sector.

“Given the constraints on public pay, there is no easy answer to this problem but we have to acknowledge that the level of vacancies and the turnover rate within the Central Bank also comes at a potential price,” he said.

“We need a Central Bank that is fighting fit at this time. There are enormous opportunities for Ireland in the area of financial services arising from Brexit and we need to take full advantage of it. There is an onus on the minister for finance to examine this issue and to spell out what arrangements he intends to put in place to help the Central Bank recruit and retain the staff it needs to perform the exceptionally important statutory functions conferred on it,” he added.

Last December it emerged that there were 149 staff vacancies in the Central Bank, including a 12 per cent vacancy rate in the section responsible for regulation of the financial sector.

Philip Lane, the governor of the Central Bank, thanked Mr Roux for his role in turning around the bank’s fortunes following the financial crash.

“He drove critical reforms of the way we conduct financial regulation in Ireland, including our successful integration in the Single Supervisory Mechanism of banking supervision in the eurozone, and the transformation of our insurance supervisory approach in line with the introduction of [EU directive] Solvency II.

“Under his leadership, the bank launched its biggest ever programme of consumer redress, the mortgage tracker review currently under way, and brought to inquiry its most extensive enforcement case — together with his invaluable contributions to our macro-prudential and financial stability mandates and to the running of the bank as a whole.”

Mr Roux said: “I will leave the bank with a heavy heart, yet did not want to pass on the opportunity to return to the private sector in the very best of terms. The bank is a strong institution where highly dedicated and qualified staff work every day in the public interest and I will sorely miss them.”

Michael Noonan, the minister for finance, thanked Mr Roux for his dedicated service and wished him well in his future career.

“Mr Roux has been to the fore in driving significant changes in the financial regulatory landscape during his term at the Central Bank of Ireland and has contributed to the overhaul of regulation, supervision and resolution regimes,” he said.

The Central Bank Commission will now begin the process of appointing a replacement for Mr Roux, including seeking the consent of the minister for finance.