Following the approval of NAMA by the European Commission, the Department of Finance has published revised guidelines in relation to NAMA’s pricing of assets. This is a revised version of these regulations released before Christmas. Based on a quick read, there are appear to be a couple of changes, both of which show that the Commission is pushing the government towards paying lower prices.
The first relates to the discount rate used to value cash flows when coming up with long-term economic value. These had provided for an adjustment of 0.8 percent above the relevant government bond rate. This adjustment is now 1.7 percent. This change will lower the value of the assets.
Government bond rates are, of course, lower now than they were last September. This is probably what the Minister was referring to when he said “There will, however, be a reduction in the interest rates used for loan discounting purposes” a comment widely (and now it seems incorrectly) reported as being related to the Commission’s recommendations. We see now that the Commission’s recommendations, taken on their own, will imply lower prices paid.
The other change I can spot relates to the (to me) mysterious “Standard Discount Rate”. The regulations for this used to be as follows.
The standard discount rate that NAMA shall apply in the calculation of the long-term economic value of all bank assets shall be 2.75 per cent to provide for enforcement costs, and 0.25 per cent to provide for due diligence costs.
The 2.75 percent is now 5.25 percent. From previous discussions, the prize for best answer as to what the standard discount rate was went to Frank Galton: NAMA LTEV = LTEV*(1-Standard Discount Rate). Assuming that’s correct, then this latest change would also imply lower prices. Anyone who understands the standard discount rate (or can see any other interesting changes) feel free to explain it to us.