Business Irish

Thursday 18 January 2018

Treasury deal to Nama exec's family firm

Nowlan ran rule over bust Treasury

RONALD QUINLAN

A valuation carried out on behalf of Nama of Treasury Holdings' Irish and UK property portfolio was contracted to the family firm of one of the State agency's own portfolio managers, the Sunday Independent can reveal.



Dublin-based WK Nowlan & Associates landed the lucrative contract in June 2010 after consultants Deloitte were appointed by Nama to conduct an independent review of business plans submitted by Treasury Holdings.

At the time of the contract's award, Kevin Nowlan, who had been a managing director of WK Nowlan until March 2010, had just taken up his new position as a portfolio manager with Nama. At an earlier point in his career in the property industry, Mr Nowlan was employed by Treasury Holdings.

Asked by the Sunday Independent if it was satisfied that the engagement of WK Nowlan for the Treasury Holdings valuation did not give rise to a conflict of interest -- either potential or actual -- for Mr Nowlan and for Nama, a spokesman for the agency stressed that Nama had no involvement in the awarding of the contract.

"This Independent Business Reviewer assignment was awarded by Nama to Deloitte. Deloitte was one of the firms which had been appointed, following a competitive public procurement process, to Nama's Independent Business Reviewer (IBR) panel.

"As with any other IBR firm, it was for Deloitte to determine where they sourced the property expertise required to complete the assignment. Any property expertise employed by Deloitte involved a contractual arrangement between them and the firm concerned -- and Nama was not a party to such a contract," the spokesman said.

Nama also insisted that it "ensures that potential conflicts of interest are managed effectively and that staff do not participate in decisions in which such conflicts may arise". On this, the agency's spokesman referred to Nama's Code of Practice for its officials, which requires that: "should an officer find himself or herself in a position of actual or potential conflict of interest, where there may be a perception of bias or where his impartiality in carrying out his duties may be potentially affected, he should immediately disclose the existence of the conflict of interest in writing to Nama."

In the case of Mr Nowlan, the Sunday Independent recently revealed how he moved his 30 per cent stake in WK Nowlan into a trust held by the commercial law firm, Eversheds. It is understood the arrangement was made between June 2009 and the end of May 2010.

Mr Nowlan joined Nama shortly after he resigned as managing director of WK Nowlan.

Responding at the time to questions on that particular matter, a spokesman for Nama said that before taking up a position, an employee "is required to provide a statement of his or her interests, assets and liabilities and to update such a statement in the event of a material change".

A spokesman for WK Nowlan said: "Nama has very detailed and rigorous guidelines to deal with possible conflict issues. WK Nowlan & Associates fully observes these guidelines at all times."

Contacted on this occasion in relation to WK Nowlan's valuation of Treasury Holdings' portfolio on behalf of Deloitte for Nama, a spokesman for the firm said it was its policy not to comment on its clients' affairs.

Sunday Indo Business

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