Nama has warned of the possibility of being seen as an “easy target” if it rushed to settle outstanding court cases ahead of its planned final wind-down date in 2025.
In an update for the Department of Finance, the asset management agency said this could see it targeted by “vexatious and costly new litigation” if a perception developed that it was desperate to settle cases ahead of the deadline.
The briefing presentation said it would continue to try and pursue settlement options but only where it was deemed “commercially advantageous” and in line with its own legal obligations.
It also cautioned that there was the potential for new court challenges to emerge at any time and that it did not have the “ability to control direction and outcomes” in litigation.
Nama said the next 16 months were critical in its efforts to complete an orderly wind-down while continuing to deliver value to the Exchequer.
A slideshow for the Department of Finance said: “Most, if not all, assets should be targeted for disposal by end-2024.”
It detailed how 94% of Nama’s remaining assets were in Dublin and the adjoining counties, with just a small amount abroad or in counties outside Leinster.
It added that 79% of it was involved development land, with 35% of the total assets actively under development and 29% not active. The remainder was in a “deleveraging process”, according to data provided.
The presentation said Nama was continuing to cut its headcount but that this had come with its own challenges, with the risk of losing certain types of expertise.
It said this meant it needed to “gradually reduce in size without compromising risk and [its] control framework”.
Staff numbers for this year were predicted to be 93, reducing to 82 next year, and between 45 and 55 by 2025.
One slide from the presentation read: “Difficulties in the retention of a broad set of skills and expertise to deliver on strategic objectives and facilitate wind-down. The retention of the right mix may become increasingly difficult… especially if there is a loss of senior staff.”
Nama said it would be “prudent” to target a higher headcount than had previously been advised, to ensure its efforts to finish up its work stayed “on track”.
The briefing document also explained how some bankruptcy and liquidation cases were very likely to drag on into the future.
Some of these were happening in the UK and in the USA, it said, and would require “active monitoring” by Nama.
“The pace of the monetisation of the portfolio has slowed due to challenging external macro conditions and signals that the portion of unsold assets in the residual portfolio at end-2025 may be larger than anticipated previously.”
In a concluding section from the August 30 progress update, Nama said key goals remained generating the largest possible surplus for the State and intensive management of residential sites, including for social housing.
Asked about the briefing, a spokesman said: “Nama is progressing its phased and orderly wind-down and aims to conclude its work by December 2025, having regard to the primacy of its Section 10 commercial mandate.”