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More than 60 Irish firms, including Arthur Cox and William Fry, have been appointed to a panel to advise the National Assets Management Agency (Nama).
Among the list of 64 firms, announced by the National Treasury Management Agency, was Eversheds O’Donnell Sweeney, Ivor Fitzpatrick & Co, LK Shields, Maples & Calder, Mason Hayes & Curran and Matheson Ormsby Prentice, as well as a number of smaller Dublin and regional firms.
Nama will reportedly spend as much as €2.6bn (£2.27bn) on professional fees and expenses over the next 10 years. The spend property valuations and accountancy services as well as legal.
Nama was established in 2009 to rescue Ireland’s battered banks. The agency bought between €80-90m worth of development loans from the banks using tax payers’ money. The loans will be redistributed back into the market, freeing the banks up to start lending again.
The bulk of the work being handed out by Nama is related to due diligence on its loans, although there is also some corporate structuring work. The aim is to transfer the first tranche of loans within the next month, and have all the loans transferred by June 2010.
“Nama needs so many firms on its panel because of the sheer volume of loans taken on and because they’re operating under a tight deadline,” said Andrew Muckian, head of commercial property at William Fry. “But the primary reason is because of the conflicts of interest. Most property transactions take three sets of lawyers; acting for the buyers, sellers and the bank, and a firm would be conflicted out [and unable to advise Nama] if it represented any of these parties in the original loan.
“So Nama has all these firms so it can overcome the problem of conflicts, but it wouldn’t necessarily employ every firm on that panel.”