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NTMA to recruit fund managers from September Back  
Michael Somers says to Finance that the recruitment process will begin as the Oireachtas prepares to debate the Bills giving new powers to the agency.
Despite the substantial changes introduced by its new insurance claims management and pensions investment roles, the NTMA will still be primarily focussed on managing the national debt chief executive Michael Somers told Finance.

Two bills were recently published to extend the powers of the NTMA. The National Pension Reserve Fund Bill bestows an pensions investment manager’s role upon the agency and the NTMA Amendments Bill 2000 extends the agency’s function to a State Claims agency and also gives it a Central Treasury Service.

‘The Bills extend considerably the function of the NTMA’ said Michael Somers, speaking exclusively to Finance. Specifically on the pension bill, he said, ‘We find it a very interesting development and we’re very pleased that it has come our way. We feel we can add value into this process and we look forward to the Bill being passed.’ The estimates are that the pension fund could grow to 30 per cent of our GNP over 25 years.

The fundamental changes to the NTMA are expected result in an intake of personnel with the new skills necessary to deal with the expanded functions. ‘We will have to go out and hire in some expertise ourselves,’ said Somers, but he was adamant that this would be keep to a minimum. Giving a rough estimate he said that perhaps 15 extra staff would be needed, including fund mangers. However, given the long lead-in time for recruiting staff in Ireland at the moment, he said he anticipated starting to look for staff as early as September.

Much of the hands on administration of the national pension fund will be sub-contracted out. ‘The NTMA will be the manager of this money but will probably sub-contract out some or all of the fund management to individual fund management firms’ explained Somers. ‘We will assess people’s suitability to manage this money.’

This assessment includes choosing reputable outlets with long-term staff and good credit ratings he said. He would also look at whether to have a single or multiple custodians and the regional make up and asset allocation of the fund.

Somers said the NTMA was ‘trying to cover all the angles so that we’re ready to push the button is this when the bill is passed.’

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