IRELAND - The massive National Pensions Reserve Fund in Dublin has deferred its decision to tender for global small cap equity managers amid concerns over a possible war with Iraq.
The E7.5bn fund said that it is still looking to allocate no more than 2%-3% of the total fund to small-caps but a decision on the eventual size of the individual mandate/s will now be decided at the next commission meeting penned for April-end.
Deborah Reidy, head of investment manager selection at the National Treasury Management Agency, the body which administers the fund, said: “As a result of the Iraqi conflict the decision has been made to defer the process until the next commission meeting.
“It’s all subject to the situation being resolved one way or another and us feeling more comfortable about the markets.”
The mandates are expected to be funded from new contributions.
Reidy reiterated the fund’s commitment to tendering for euro-zone corporate bonds and real estate, although decisions on these will also be postponed until later in the year.
The fund, which is being advised by Mercer Investment Consulting, is expected to examine moves into emerging market equity, hedge funds, and private equity in 2004.
Last year, the NPRF said that it was sticking to its long term strategic target of a 80/20 equity/bond split despite a near- 4% drop in capital value since its inception in April 2001.
It currently holds positions in Eurozone bonds (20%); Euro equities (40%); US equities (26.4%); Europe (ex-Eurozone) 6.8%; Japan (5.25); Pacific Basin (1.6%), benchmarked against FTSE regional indices. The fund is precluded from holding Irish Government securities.
*Earlier research showed how Irish managed pension funds were hit by global financial uncertainty as well as dramatic falls in equity markets last year.
The average Irish managed pension fund fell -18.9% in 2002, according to Mercer Investment Consulting, Dublin.
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