It’s not often that NAMA gets a pat on the back, but during the end-of-review Troika press conference this morning, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan was asked about NAMA and the recent Comptroller and Auditor General report. Surprisingly, Minister Noonan said that on the two occasions on which he met with the Troika on this visit, NAMA wasn’t mentioned at all. Although this wasn’t stated, the fact that NAMA wasn’t mentioned with the minister nominally responsible for the Agency, probably indicates the Troika doesn’t have concerns for the Agency. Which would be in itself, a pat on NAMA’s back.
But the significant compliment to NAMA was when Minister Noonan said he met with the NAMA Advisory Board last week and he said (from 21:00)
“There were things about NAMA that I didn’t like and there are things about NAMA that I still keep my eye on. But the appointment of advisors to the Minister under the Act was quite helpful. There was a review of NAMA carried out at that stage [presumably when the Board was appointed in March 2012] I met the advisors last week and they said to me “Do you want us to continue because we have been with NAMA all day and we actually think that the difficulties they had have been overcome and that they’re an effective organisation” “Yeah”, I said “I’d like you to continue. I need you at the end of a phone to give me advice, that I can have conversations that are based on the opinion of people who have experience in the property market, rather than personal opinon”
You might recall that there was a review of NAMA by career banker Michael Geoghegan at the end of 2011, in which he called for a more business focussed approach by NAMA as it got stuck into its asset management phase. Following the review, Minister Noonan created a NAMA advisory board which comprises Michael Geoghegan, Denis Rooney and NAMA’s own chairman Frank Daly.
Yes it’s a bit laughable when you imagine Frank Daly meekly asking if Minister Noonan still wanted an advisory board! But presumably the other two, Michael Geoghegan and Denis Rooney would have a more independent opinion on NAMA’s progress.
So a (rare) pat on NAMA’s back.