herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Renua's Eddie Hobbs and wife rake in €1.2m from firm

Eddie Hobbs and Lucinda Creighton
Eddie Hobbs and Lucinda Creighton

Celebrity consumer advocate and Renua Ireland president Eddie Hobbs, and his wife Mary, paid themselves more than €1.2m over two years from their financial services firm.

The parents-of-four, who are the directors of the company, received joint pay last year of €559,068.

That represents a 14pc decline on the €652,144 the two received from Financial Development and Marketing (FDM) Ltd in 2013.

Mr Hobbs' wife, Mary Fehily Hobbs, is a respected businesswoman in her own right and last year served as President of Network Ireland, a voluntary organisation for women in business.

FDM employs four other people and the total pay - inclusive of the directors' salaries - last year totalled €737,932 . This was down on the €800,972 paid out in 2013.

Earlier this year, Mr Hobbs reduced his non-core business roles when he resigned his non-executive directorships at property firm Brendan Investments and wind turbine energy firm Airsynergy as a result of his involvement with Renua.

In an email to clients of FDM, Mr Hobbs wrote: "I'm fully committed professionally to my Financial Development and Marketing Ltd (FDML)".

In an interview yesterday, Mr Hobbs said that it would be "impossible" to combine an active role with FDM and the work of a TD "as the job of a TD is a full-time one and the commitment required intensive".

Election

Mr Hobbs was asked about what factors he will take into consideration when deciding if he will contest the election for Renua.

"All of the factors are non-political and mostly private, but in the meantime I'm doing what I can as a volunteer in the capacity of President of Renua Ireland and overseeing its enterprise policy development, which means active engagement with the SME sector in particular. I grew weary of shouting at the referee and the opposing support after a decade of writing columns."

Mr Hobbs said that the decision to take less salary out of the firm last year was down to "nothing in particular".

"Most SME owners in these type of firms vary their remuneration to business performance during the year so there will always be differences. It should be pointed out that Ireland has the most progressive income tax system in Europe, so much is recycled to the exchequer to pay for public services."

Mr Hobbs established FDM in the early 90s.

The firm advises on €250m in assets under management and Mr Hobbs has stated that his business model involves the firm taking no investment commission from clients but instead taking a share of the assets under management.

Mr Hobbs' income from his work in the media and writing books is entirely separate from the FDM business, which he pointed out is regulated by the Central Bank.

In the past, Hobbs has presented TV shows such as Rip-off Republic and Show Me The Money.

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