IRELAND - The Irish equity market ended its trend of outperformance in the first quarter of 2005, with the ISEQ index returning negative 2.8% compared with 4.5% for the Eurozone as a whole.
Deborah Reidy (pictured), consultant at Hewitt, said: “For the first time in a number of years the Irish equity market was the worst performing market reversing its long term trend of outperforming relative to global markets.
“All other major equity markets delivered positive returns. The UK was the strongest performer of the developed markets returning 5.9% to a Euro investor while the Pacific Basin region excluding Japan and emerging markets returned 5% and 6.6% respectively for the quarter.”
According to Hewitt’s quarterly investment survey, the average manager returned 2.5% in the first quarter, above the Hewitt & Becketts Managed Fund Index of 2.2%. However managers underperformed against the index over twelve months.
Reidy said Elan’s dramatic share price collapse was the main influence on the Irish equity market’s performance.
“Canada Life/Setanta, BIAM and New Ireland had no exposure to Elan and as a result were among the top performers,” she said.
“This quarter clearly demonstrated that passive or index tracking is not necessarily the low risk option for pension investors. The volatility of Elan has never been so stark and with the share price rising over 270% in 2004 and now collapsing in the first quarter of 2005.”
For the quarter ending March 31, 2005, Canada Life/Setanta was the highest performing fund with a return of 4.4% versus the Hewitt index of 2.2%. KBCAM and New Ireland came in next with returns of 3.2% and 3.1% respectively.
For the twelve month period, Canada Life/Setanta had the highest return with a gain of 10.7% against the Hewitt index of 10.3%.
Over three and five years, Bank of Ireland Asset Management was the best performing manager with returns of 2.2% and 2.3% per annum respectively.
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