Saturday 24 February 2018

Nama to pay out bonuses to keep key staff

The Treasury Building on Grand Canal Street Lower where NAMA is based
The Treasury Building on Grand Canal Street Lower where NAMA is based
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) will offer bonuses in order to retain key employees until the agency shuts.

Nama has won Government backing for a "modest retention payment" to encourage key staff to remain at the agency, its chairman Frank Daly said.

As the agency revealed yesterday that its profit last year more than doubled, Mr Daly said Finance Minister Michael Noonan had signed off on the scheme designed to persuade critical staff not to leave.

The agency had been making the case for incentives to retain top talent to see out its operations as it begins its wind-down.

Nama is making around 78 people at the bad bank redundant this year, with another 167 in 2016 as it advances its wind-down plans.

But Mr Daly added that progress had been made in being able to encourage the key staff needed to see out the agency's work remain.

"We have engaged, I think quite productively, with the minister in recent months on behalf of the board in relation to getting some sort of a modest retention payment which would help us keep people that we need right to the end," Mr Daly said.

"If somebody wants to go, that's fine. But if we want to keep somebody, we have got agreement on a modest retention payment. It will go a considerable way towards allaying our fears about losing staff."

It is understood the retention payment will come from the redundancy scheme funding put in place for the agency, which Mr Noonan has said won't cost more than €20m.

The agency's annual report, launched yesterday, revealed 17 departing staff were placed on garden leave last year, at a cost of €400,000. The report pointed out that this forms part of the overall Nama salary cost that would have been incurred anyway regardless of the garden leave decision. The average period of the leave was two months.

Overall, 67 staff left Nama last year - about a fifth of the headcount at the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, the agency has reported an after-tax profit for 2014 of €458m, more than twice the 2013 figure of €214m.

Mr McDonagh also revealed that the agency had "reached the end of the road in terms of impairment." Nama's loan impairment charges last year fell by 85pc to €137m, from €914m the previous year. The agency is expected to make a surplus of €1bn for the taxpayer.

Nama also announced yesterday that it has repaid almost two-thirds of its senior debt. A €1.75bn repayment earlier yesterday brought the total redeemed so far to €19.35bn.

Mr McDonagh said 2014 saw a very strong performance.

"Nama made tremendous progress in 2014 in reducing its senior debt and we are very hopeful that we can generate a surplus for the taxpayer over our lifetime," he said.

Nama also announced that as part of its target of delivering 4,500 residential units by the end of next year, 4,000 have either been delivered or are under construction.

The agency generated €8.6bn in cash last year, almost double the amount generated in 2013. And total cash generated has now risen to €23.7bn by the end of the year, including €18.7bn from asset disposals. Mr Noonan said it was clear that Nama will show a surplus.

"That's very important."

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