Tax-free: Derek Quinlan

Property syndicator Derek Quinlan will be able to take out 25% of the value of any personal pension fund he holds in a tax-free lump sum to help pay his bankers following his decision to retire two weeks ago.

Quinlan has reportedly hired KPMG and Lazard to advise him in his talks on his financial affairs.

Developers and property investors poured hundreds of millions into their pensions funds during the boom years because they could write off the contributions against the higher rate of income tax.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who was finance minister at the time, eventually introduced a cap on tax relief on pension funds of €5m in 2005. Figures released in 2006 show that more than 110 people had pension funds worth more than €5m at the time.

Revenue rules allow up to 25% of the value of your pension fund to be taken as a tax-free lump sum on retirement and the balance transferred to an approved retirement fund. Alternatively the entire amount can be withdrawn, with the first 25% being tax-free and the balance paid as taxable cash. The last option is to take out the 25% and use the balance to purchase an annuity payable to you, payments on which are taxable.

Quinlan founded Quinlan Private (QP), the property syndicator, in 1989 to advise high-net-worth individuals. Syndicators typically charge a management fee of 2% a year. QP would have generated €200m in annual management fees based on its assets under management of €10bn, but it is understood QP charges less than that. Rumours that it has been waiving management fees are also understood to be misplaced.

Quinlan was in London in recent weeks breakfasting in the Berkeley, which is part of the Savoy group, acquired by Quinlan Private in 2004 for more than €1.1bn before being renamed the Maybourne Hotel Group. Quinlan personally invested in several properties at the top of the market with Glenn Maud's PropInvest, including the Citigroup tower in London and the Banco Santander global headquarters outside Madrid, at a combined cost of €3bn.

Separately, CBRE's loan servicing division said last week it is finalising its "legal review of the various recovery options available" after one of Maud's portfolios breached its loan-to-value covenants last year. Quinlan is not involved in that convertible mortgage backed security, which is serviced by CBRE.