It’s been just over a year since Minister for Finance Michael Noonan created a strange new species, the NAMA advisory board which is completely separated from NAMA and which reports directly to the Minister. It has three members – pictured above. The board comprises Michael Geoghegan, the former boss at HSBC whose role at the bank came in for some criticism last year by the US Senate investigation of money-laundering at HSBC, an investigation which resulted in a fine of USD 1.9bn in December 2012. The other two board members are NAMA’s own chairman, Frank Daly and Northern Ireland quango king, Denis Rooney.
When it was announced in March 2013, Minister Noonan outlined the terms of reference for the NAMA Advisory Board as follows
“Provide advice to the Minister on
The strategy of NAMA as proposed by the board of NAMA
The appointment of directors to NAMA
The remuneration of the senior executives of NAMA
Any further advice the Minister may seek the Group to provide
The advisory group will not have decision making powers under the Act.”[ENDS]
Last week, in the Dail, Minister Noonan was asked about the activity of the NAMA advisory group in the past year. Minister Noonan confirmed that it has met five times to date. Remember the three members don’t get paid but the board has an annual budget of €40,000 for expenses. We don’t learn anything about what the board has actually achieved in the past year, it was previously reported to have said “NAMA has overcome difficulties and is an effective organisation” Minister Noonan said he is satisfied the NAMA advisory boad “is working effectively and with the progress to date”.
The view on here is that if you ever want to see a superfluous quango at work, take a look at the NAMA advisory board.
The parliamentary questions and response are here.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance if he will outline the activity over the past year of the National Asset Management Agency Advisory Board comprising persons (details supplied); and if he will outline any recommendations made by that board to him and the subsequent treatment of any such recommendations.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance if he will provide an assessment of the utility over the past year of the National Asset Management Agency Advisory Board comprising persons (details supplied).
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: I propose to take questions 222 and 223 together.
I met with the group on four occasions in 2012 and once to date in 2013. It is also open to the Chair to contact me as issues arise.
The group’s advice to me primarily relates to the strategy of NAMA as proposed by the board of NAMA; the remuneration of the senior executives of NAMA and any further advice that I may seek on any matter relating to NAMA. The group operates on an informal basis and reports directly to me. Any issues raised are discussed with senior officials within my Department.
The advisory group plays a valuable role and I am satisfied it is working effectively and with the progress to date.
However it is important to note that this group is not a shadow Board nor is it intended to provide a route for me as Minister to get involved in the day to day running of the Agency.