Written Answers - State Banking Sector

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 3

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  227.  Deputy Gerry Adams  Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan   if the relationship framework agreement between IBRC and the State forces IBRC to disclose to him or to his officials the fees paid to outside advisors; if he or his officials are aware of the fees charged by every advisor that have been engaged by IBRC or its previous forms of Anglo and Irish Nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20360/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Neither the 2009 Relationship Framework nor the current Relationship Framework document force IBRC to disclose to the Minister fees paid to outside advisors. I am not aware, nor are my officials aware, of the fees charged by every advisor that has been engaged by IBRC or the former Anglo Irish Bank or the Irish Nationwide Building Society on an on-going basis. It is important to appreciate the fundamental separation of roles between the Minister and the Board of the bank in relation to IBRC and indeed the other financial institutions in which the State has an interest. This separation of roles is required by EU State Aid and Competition Authority rules. In the case of IBRC the Relationship Framework assigns responsibility for strategy, commercial policies and day to day operation to the Board of the bank. This assignment of responsibility includes a requirement to establish and ensure compliance with policies, including procurement policies, which conform to best practice in a commercial environment. General procurement matters, including the engagement of advisors, but excepting the engagement of auditors and legal advisors, are matters for the Board. These latter appointments are listed as “reserved matters” in the Relationship Framework documents, requiring the Minister’s prior approval. For the Deputy's information the current Relationship Framework document sets out in Section 26 therequirements in relation to the appointment of advisors. This document can be accessed at the following link — http://banking.finance.giv.ie/wp-content/uploads/Irish-Bank-Resolution-Corporation1.pdf

  228.  Deputy Gerry Adams  Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan   the formal reasons that were set out by the relevant member of IBRC group executive in seeking to waive the formal procurement process in the appointment of a company (details supplied); if he will detail under each of the specified headings that are required in order for an exception to be granted; the formal reasons that were supplied by the relevant member of IBRC group executive to justify the appointment of that company; the reason the standard procurement process is not appropriate; the way the bank can be satisfied in adopting the proposed arrangement that it is still obtaining best value for money; the way that the bank can be satisfied that the established procurement principles will be observed if the exception is approved, accountability, competitiveness, non-discrimination fairness and transparency, probity and integrity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20361/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  IBRC operates a procurement policy which has been set by the Board. An integral aspect of procurement is a governance process to monitor adherence to policy. The Bank’s procurement policy is designed to ensure that goods and services are procured in the most cost-effective manner, while ensuring that the process is completed in an open, objective and transparent way. There have been and will continue to be specific instances in which the Bank will not be able to tender publicly for a particular good or [500]service e.g. urgency, sensitivity of a particular matter, etc. In such instances, the procurement policy allows for the CEO to give an advance waiver of this policy. A waiver is only granted by the CEO where a genuine need exists and can be justified. I am informed by the bank that the circumstances in relation to the appointment of the company referred to in the Question met the conditions to justify a waiver of the procurement policy.

Procurement by IBRC, whether by public tender or exception, at all times seeks to best give effect to the core principles of accountability, value for money, non-discrimination, fairness, transparency and integrity in the procurement of any good or service for the Bank.

Further details of any exception to the Banks procurement policy are by their nature therefore commercially sensitive to the organisation.

  229.  Deputy Gerry Adams  Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan   if he, his officials or IBRC have received any written or oral communications from outside investors since it became public information that a company (details supplied) had been engaged to advise IBRC; if he will detail the number of oral or written communications received; the nature of these communications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20363/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  The Department has received a number of communications from parties with an interest in providing advice to the State or State owned companies since the appointment of the company referred to in the Question by IBRC became public information. This information related to the appointment of the particular company was provided on an informal basis and is deemed to be confidential in nature. Had any formal communication been received in the Department it would have been referred to the Board of the bank, whose responsibility covers such matters. In the wider context the Department receives communications from a wide range of parties, including potential investors, on an on-going basis. IBRC has also confirmed that the Bank has been contacted by market investors with respect to the engagement of the Company (details supplied). In each case the Bank has clarified that the engagement was limited to the ‘advisory arm’ of the Company referred to in the question who assisted the Bank with certain strategic matters. The bank has also confirmed that the bank operates a procurement policy which has been set by the Board. An integral aspect of procurement is a governance process to monitor adherence to policy. The Bank’s procurement policy is designed to ensure that goods and services are procured in the most cost-effective manner, while ensuring that the process is completed in an open, objective and transparent way.

There have been and will continue to be specific instances in which the Bank will not be able to tender publicly for a particular good or service e.g. urgency, sensitivity of a particular matter, etc. In such instances, the procurement policy allows for the CEO to give an advance waiver of this policy. A waiver is only granted by the CEO where a genuine need exists and can be justified. I am informed by the bank that the circumstances in relation to the appointment of the company referred to in the Question met the conditions to justify a waiver of the procurement policy.

Procurement by IBRC, whether by public tender or exception, at all times seeks to best give effect to the core principles of accountability, value for money, non-discrimination, fairness, transparency and integrity in the procurement of any good or service for the Bank. The Bank’s Audit Committee receives a report in respect of professional fees paid at each Audit Committee meeting.

Further details of any exception to the Bank’s procurement policy are by their nature therefore commercially sensitive to the organisation.

[501]

  230.  Deputy Gerry Adams  Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan   the number of business or first class flights taken by IBRC group executives and paid for by IBRC in the past 12 months; if he will detail the total number of nights IBRC group executives have stayed in five star hotels in the past 12 months; the total cost of these flights and hotels inclusive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20364/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  IBRC operates to a Group Travel Policy which has been approved by the Directors of the Board of the Bank. This policy applies to both domestic and foreign travel. Details of the flights and accommodation of the Group Executives of IBRC, in the day to day running of the Bank, are therefore a matter for the Board of the Bank. I have been informed that under the travel policy economy class is the preferred mode of air travel and under no circumstances is first class to be used unless due to a critical business need and pre-approved by the Group CEO. Accommodation should be pre-approved by the responsible GEXCO member and preferred hotels should be utilised (discount rates) where possible. Where it is not possible to book into a preferred hotel the cost of accommodation is recouped on production of appropriate receipts.

It should be noted that since nationalisation to end 2011, expenses incurred by the Bank on both business travel and accommodation have fallen by c. 80%.

  231.  Deputy Gerry Adams  Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan   if the Goldman Sachs advisors who are being engaged by his Department have met with a company (details supplied) advisors to IBRC; if the Goldman Sachs advisors who are being engaged by his Department have been on any of the weekly conference calls with his Department and the company’s advisors to IBRC; if he will outline whether Goldman Sachs are advising him now or have advised him previously on the promissory note and tracker mortgage restructuring proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20365/12]

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  The Deputy may wish to note that Goldman Sachs is not engaged by this Department. I am informed that my Department is not aware of any meetings between Goldman Sachs and the company referred to in the question, and staff from the Department have not been involved in conference call in which Staff from Goldman Sachs and the company referred to. Finally Goldman Sachs has not advised the Government on the Promissory Note or other banking matters. For the Deputy’s further information Goldman Sachs was engaged by the NTMA on 15 April 2011 as external advisor for the liability management exercises and capital raising transactions to be undertaken in respect of BOI, AIB, ILP, EBS, INBS and Anglo Irish Bank and for advice on the sale of Irish Life. The total cost of the engagement was €7.8 million. Work is on-going with regard to the sale of Irish Life.


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