NAMA paying developers €2.3 million in salaries with the top earner receiving €195,000 annual “allowance”

TWENTY three developers are still in receipt of incomes from NAMA with the highest earning receiving €195,000 per year.

Three more get an “allowance” worth €180,000 annually according to figures released under FOI by the asset management agency.

Altogether, the 23 developers – who manage sites on behalf of NAMA – receive €2.3 million, an average of €100,000 each.

Of them, ten received a six-figure salary with one on €133,000, two getting €120,000, another on €110,000, and two developers paid €100,000 each.

NAMA said the payment of allowances to “debtors” was part of its efforts to get the best possible financial returns from its loans.

A spokesman said: “[We have] consistently stated since 2010 that, where [NAMA] is able to work with debtors, arrangements agreed with debtors are more cost-effective for the taxpayer than the alternative of appointing external asset managers or receivers.

“It is also a more efficient approach as debtors are very familiar with the assets under their control.”

The number of developers working directly with NAMA has dropped considerably over the years and was at one stage well in excess of 100.

The latest figures also list thirteen developers who are in receipt of annual allowances worth under €100,000.

According to the data, one is on €95,000 while four are on salaries of between €80,000 and €90,000, at an average rate of €83,000 each.

Three developers received just over €70,000 in payments while two were on allowances worth between €60,000 and €70,000.

The lowest earners were in the €30,000-€40,000 category, where two received €65,000 between them, or an average of €32,500 each.

In an information note accompanying the figures, NAMA said it technically did not pay “salaries” to the developers as it was not their employer.

It said that in certain cases they allow “debtors” to keep part of the income from their profit-making assets to pay overheads for the “preservation and enhancement of the value of property securing its loans”.

They said these overheads generally covered costs for repair and maintenance, and insurance premiums, local authority rates, and professional fees.

“These costs may include an allowance for the remuneration of debtors and their staff to manage their assets,” they said.

“This occurs in cases where the Agency decides that this is the most cost effective option in terms of maximising the return for the State in line with NAMA’s statutory objective.”

At its peak around 2014, the asset management agency was paying €11 million in allowances to 134 different developers with three of them in receipt of more than €200,000.

NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh defended the costs involved at the time saying it would be much more expensive to appoint receivers, who would then appoint an asset manager with costs rising exponentially.

The agency also rejected proposals that were considered unrealistic with one developer famously looking for a €1.5 million annual salary back in 2010.

“The jets, the yachts, the Bentleys will not be supported by NAMA,” said agency chairman Frank Daly at the time.