Wednesday 20 September 2017

Eleven key officials who left NAMA: where they are now

Graham Emmett
Graham Emmett
PAUL HENNIGAN
Kevin Nowlan
Selina Dicker
Enda Farrell
Ronan Fox
John Kelly
Michael Hussey
Shane Woods

Nick Webb, Tom Lyons, Ronald Quinlan

Graham Emmett

THE resignation of Nama's head of lending and corporate finance, Graham Emmett, in January 2012 was widely seen as being a turning point for the agency. Respected by Nama officials and developers alike, Mr Emmett didn't hang around once the Government's drive to cut the public sector pay bill arrived at the doors of Nama's HQ on Grand Canal Street. Explaining the reasons for his departure in a phone interview with the Sunday Independent in September of last year, Mr Emmett said: "I have no problem with the board of Nama. My issue was the interference by Government in the employment contracts that had been signed. It's the minimum salary and the requests for [pay] reductions and the long-term incentive plan, the whole gamut. It's not just to do with bonuses."

Since leaving the agency, Mr Emmett's services have certainly been in demand. Following an initial stint as a partner with the London-based ICG Longbow Real Estate Capital – a company which specialises in providing access to credit funds specialising in UK commercial real estate debt, Mr Emmett recently moved to take up a new role as partner with debt restructuring specialists Cheyne Capital Management.

Paul Hennigan

HAVING spent three years working for Nama as a portfolio manager and later senior asset recovery manager, Mr Hennigan departed the agency last April to take up the position of partner with Prime London Partners in the UK. Mr Hennigan's decision to join the firm raised eyebrows initially when the Sunday Independent revealed how his new employers had in 2011 acted for a Malaysian wealth fund that paid Nama €172.3m (Stg£147.5m) for 11-12 St James's Square in London – offices formerly owned by investors David Arnold and Deirdre Foley of D2. Fuelling the controversy further was the fact that Mr Hennigan had been responsible for managing the portfolio of D2 Private as part of his duties with Nama.

While our disclosures prompted questions in the Seanad from Labour senator Lorraine Higgins, Mr Hennigan rejected any suggestions of impropriety in a statement to this newspaper.

He said: "Having dedicated myself to Nama and the taxpayer for three years, despite the personal and financial cost to me and my family, it is grossly unfair, insulting and deeply offensive that a member of our Oireachtas, albeit unelected, attributes scandal to my ongoing contractual obligations to Nama and my current employment – both of which she quite clearly knows nothing about. In my view, it is this type of manufactured and false hysteria that is preventing Nama retaining or attracting staff, ultimately to the detriment of the taxpayer."

Kevin Nowlan

KEVIN Nowlan was a rampaging full back for St Mary's and Leinster in the late 1990s, playing in the Heineken Cup and ultimately winning three caps for Ireland. He made his debut against the All Blacks in a 63-15 defeat, following up with a two try display against Canada. His final match came in an embarrassing defeat by Italy in Bologna. Off the pitch, he worked with Anglo Irish Bank before switching to Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett's Treasury Holdings. After Treasury Holdings, the property executive worked as managing director of his family property advisory firm WK Nowlan until 2010 when he joined Nama. The chartered surveyor transferred his 30 per cent shareholding in WK Nowlan into a trust before moving to Nama. WK Nowlan worked as one of Nama's key consultants. During his time at Nama, Nowlan became one of the key rainmakers within the state agency, serving as busted tycoon Sean Dunne's portfolio manager in Nama. Last February, Nowlan upped sticks and returned to WK Nowlan. Last month it emerged that WK Nowlan was working with Frank Kenny's Willett Group to raise €300m in a REIT to buy up Irish property and loans.

Selina Dicker

IN a career that took her from Copenhagen business school to fronting major leverage buyouts at Rothschild and Capmark, Selina Dicker became a highly sought-after financier with years of real estate smarts. She was headhunted to join Nama in 2010, becoming team leader of lending corporate finance. Just over two years later, in September 2012, she quit. Less than two months later, she was being paraded as one of US giant Rockerfeller's new executives at its new Europa Capital Mezzanine business. The new outfit was set up to provide buyout loans to the commercial property sectors well as helping to refinance existing debt. Europa is now specialising in regional and smaller-sized property deals.

Enda Farrell

TOP Nama official Enda Farrell's February 2012 move to British real estate investor Forum Partners was questioned, when it subsequently emerged that he had bought a €410,000 house from a former business associate of one of Nama's top 10 clients Derek Quinlan. In August 2012, Nama promptly launched an investigation. It discovered in a detailed trawl of his emails that he had leaked a large volume of confidential information relating to the agency's loan portfolio to a number of potential international investors. Nama made a complaint to the gardai and the matter remains under investigation.

Farrell sold the house last April, making a €65,000 gross profit.

Colm Lundy

LUNDY, one of Nama's portfolio managers, left the State agency earlier this year. He subsequently set up his own firm, a property consultancy group called CL Asset Management in May. "I appreciate the call but I don't really want to comment," he said last November when asked why he had left Nama. Company records describe his job as a "property manager". Before joining Nama, he had worked with property group Newlyn Developments from 2004 to 2007. Some of Newlyn's debts were transferred to Nama leading the state agency to examine whether Lundy had any personal exposure to Newlyn's debt.

In 2007 Lundy took a High Court action against Newlyn claiming to be owed €8m as part of a profit share agreement. The case was settled in 2008.

Ronan Fox

RONAN Fox departed Nama last September after two years and five months as a senior asset manager to take up a new role as real estate adviser with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). During his time with Nama, Mr Fox had been responsible for borrower repayment plans, asset strategy and managing the selling down of a distressed loan portfolio of some €6bn, according to his LinkedIn profile. At the time of signing Mr Fox, the ADIA was said to be showing a renewed interest in UK real estate, reportedly closing in on a deal to buy a portfolio of 42 Marriott hotels which were then in administration. The Marriott portfolio had been owned by a joint venture between Avestus Capital Partners (an investment company founded by former executives of Derek Quinlan's Quinlan Private. Mr Quinlan is not involved), Israeli investor Igal Ahouvi, and Israeli investment company Delek Global Real Estate.

John Kelly

TRINITY College graduate John Kelly spent almost seven years as a vice-president with Morgan Stanley before returning home to Dublin. A six-month stint on Dame Street with the Central Bank led to an eight month stint in fortress Nama. Kelly was a portfolio manager with Nama from October 2010 to May 2011. He then worked for a spell as a volunteer with Open House, which encourages the public to appreciate architecture, and Dublin Contemporary, an arts festival before plunging back into finance as an associate with Guggenheim Partners in March 2012. Guggenheim offers a diverse range of investments to the seriously rich. Founded by the family behind the famous New York art museum, Guggenheim's most high-profile deal here was a $1bn aviation loan transaction.

Michael Hynes

MICHAEL Hynes was a portfolio manager in Nama for one year and five months from September 2011. Prior to that the Belvedere-man worked for almost eight years with bust developer Bernard McNamara's Grattan Property. Hynes was a senior development and asset manager with McNamara who was one of the most voracious property addicts of the boom borrowing over €2bn. For the last nine months, Hynes has been working as head of real estate with Hudson Advisors Ireland, a division of Lone Star, owned by multibillionaire John Grayken. Lone Star is one of the most active buyers of Irish bank loan books with mega-deals including acquiring 'Project Kildare' – a portfolio of €675m face-value AIB loans – as well as a chunk of Anglo's €8bn North American portfolio. All deals were done, of course, at a discount to par.

Michael Hussey

FAMILIARITY with the machinations of economics and politics after studying in the prestigious Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris can only have been useful during a stint in the byzantine world of Nama. Michael Hussey, an accountant, spent five months on secondment from Deloitte to Nama from March 2010 as a portfolio and case manager. He then went back to Deloitte in London before returning to Dublin to advise on restructuring. Now working as an associate director with Investec Bank, which has bought stockbrokers NCB, Hussey specialises in companies on how to deal with their debts and raise fresh capital.

Shane Woods

BLACKROCK College old boy Shane Woods studied management accounting before joining BDO where he primarily worked on raising money from investors in business expansion schemes. From there it was off to Nama on secondment where he worked as a portfolio manager for five months from March 2010. Woods handled the first two tranches of loans going over to Nama which included the country's top 30 biggest developers. He then went back to Deloitte Corporate Finance where he's been working ever since on banking advisory – loan portfolio sales and debt advisory – loan restructuring and refinancing.

Sunday Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News