Saturday 21 October 2017

Nama chief: I don’t know if ex-staff use inside knowledge

Frank Daly, Chairman of NAMA
Frank Daly, Chairman of NAMA
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

THE chairman of Nama Frank Daly has admitted he does not know if employees who have left to take up positions in the private sector have been using the “inside information” they had access to during their time with the agency.

“I know the people. I know the onerous restrictions that are on them. I know the consequences they face should they decide to breach those restrictions and I do not know that it is being done,” Mr Daly said, before adding optimistically that “I don't believe it will be done.”

The Nama chairman's guarded admission came in the course of an interview on RTE Radio 1's The Business.

Asked by presenter George Lee to address concerns that individuals leaving Nama to work with property investment funds could be using the inside knowledge they had gained for their benefit or that of their new employers, Mr Daly did his best to downplay the risks involved.

“I don't believe that any Nama staff have gone off and used privileged information or inside information for their own benefit,” he said, before going on to cite the various restrictions on current and former Nama employees which prevents them from doing so.

“There is a whole plethora of everything from the Official Secrets Act to Nama's own protocols and the NTMA protocols because all our staff are technically employed by the NTMA regarding the use of information. So people will leave, but I do not believe they will use the information they have gained in Nama,” he said by way of reassurance.

But when asked if he was being naive in believing that former Nama employees wouldn't seek to exploit the privileged information they had been exposed to during their tenure at the State's so-called ‘bad bank', Mr Daly said: “I know the people. I know the onerous restrictions that are on them. I know the consequences they face should they decide to breach those restrictions and I do not know that it is being done, and I don't believe it will be done.”

Commenting on the reasons for the ongoing exodus of employees from Nama to roles in the private sector, Mr Daly said: “Staff leave Nama and, indeed, it's one of the risks we face as an organisation as things improve and as the market improves and staff are inevitably poached and we are subject to public sector pay restraints. So it is a key risk or a challenge to keep the right people.”

The Nama chairman's explanation echoed comments made by the agency's chief executive, Brendan McDonagh, at the announcement of Nama's latest quarterly results last May.

Remarking on the fact that 10 per cent of the agency's 200 plus staff had left in 2012, Mr McDonagh said Nama's inclusion in the “public sector [pay] adjustments is certainly a concern in terms of our ability to retain and allocate the correct skill sets to manage the portfolio”.

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