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Nama chief in pension bonanza

NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh almost doubled his pay and pension entitlements when he took up the top job at the State's so-called bad bank, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

As an existing and long-standing employee of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), Mr McDonagh had been in receipt of an annual basic salary in the region of €220,000 for his work as as a senior director with responsibility for finance, technology and risk, according to informed sources.

However, that figure ballooned overnight to a basic sum of €430,000 once the 43-year-old accountant was appointed to the helm of Nama.

Mr McDonagh's pension pot was also enhanced considerably as a result of his existing status as a long-standing employee of the NTMA -- the agency under whose umbrella Nama was established in 2009.

For while new entrants to the Nama workforce are signed up to the NTMA's defined benefit career average pension scheme -- where pension payments are based on the average salary employees receive during their career -- Mr McDonagh had been, and remains, a member of the NTMA's original defined benefit scheme where pension payments are determined by the employee's final salary alone.

To put that in perspective, were Mr McDonagh to be eligible for retirement this year, his annual pension would be calculated as a percentage of his present salary of €430,000 as opposed to a percentage of his average yearly earnings over the course of his career at the NTMA.

With Mr McDonagh aged just 43, however, the final amount of his pension package remains an open question, given the uncertainty surrounding Nama's expected lifetime.

For while Nama chairman Frank Daly may have stated repeatedly that the agency will be wound down within the next seven to 10 years once it completes its work, informed sources now believe it could become a more permanent fixture.

Sunday Independent