Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has criticised the Minister for Finance for giving consent for J&E Davy Stockbrokers to dodge the bankers’ bonus levy following its acquisition by Bank of Ireland for €440 million.
The purchase could lead to significant financial rewards for members of the Davy 16 who breached Central Bank regulations in pursuit of personal financial gain.
Teachta Doherty said:
“Today Bank of Ireland announced that it was purchasing J&E Davy Stockbrokers for €440 million.
“Having been bailed out by the taxpayer at a cost of €4.7 billion between 2009 and 2011, the bank is subject to the excessive remuneration charge or ban on bankers’ bonuses by law.
“Despite being acquired by Bank of Ireland, the Minister for Finance has given consent for Davy employees to dodge the banker bonus levy.
“This is unacceptable and premature, especially given the recent history of Davy and some of those in its higher echelons having breached Central Bank regulations in pursuit of personal gain to the detriment of their clients.
“Like the exemption of Goodbody Stockbrokers from the excessive remuneration charge after its acquisition by AIB, the Minister for Finance is eroding the banker bonus levy; a levy that should remain in place.
“The Minister for Finance should explain why has he allowed a bank – in which he is the largest shareholder on behalf of the Irish people – to acquire a stockbrokers without applying a bonus levy?
“Separately, there are serious concerns regarding the purchase made by Bank of Ireland of Davy Stockbrokers.
“With the corporate structure of Davy and its membership remaining largely unchanged since it was fined €4.1 million for regulatory breaches arising from personal account dealing, members of the Davy 16 responsible could gain substantially from the sale to Bank of Ireland.
“Still the largest shareholder in the Bank, the involvement of the State in a purchase that would enrich those who broke the rules raises serious questions.
“Furthermore, this €440 million purchase comes at a time when Bank of Ireland plans to move ahead with the closure of 88 branches that serve communities throughout the State.
“It should be asked why the bank is unable to recognise the long term value of its branch network, in communities, but is able to acquire Davy Stockbrokers for at a not insignificant cost.
“The decision by the Minister to allow J&E Davy to dodge the banker bonus levy was the wrong one, while some of the individuals this acquisition could enrich raises serious questions given the shareholding of the State in Bank of Ireland.”