Italy’s €1.6bn Fondo Gomma Plastica, the supplementary pension fund for over 50,000 workers in the materials industry, is currently assessing a possible commitment to private equity secondaries.

“We believe that [the private equity secondary market] can offer interesting opportunities, especially in the US, where this segment is very dynamic,” the fund’s general director Luca Ruggeri told IPE.

Milan-based Fondo Gomma Plastica has boosted its exposure to private markets in the first six months of this year with commitments to infrastructure in partnership with four other Italian pension funds as part of the so-called Progetto Vesta.

“The Vesta project saw an overall commitment of more than €200m. The [Vesta project] asset manager Eurizon Capital Real Asset has chosen several alternative investment funds of other Italian and foreign managers,” Ruggeri said.

Fondo Gomma Plastica joined a consortium of pension funds including Forcer, Fopen, Fondo Pensione Complementare Pegaso and Previmoda, initially committing €168m to invest in alternative investment funds (AIFs) for infrastructure projects.

The scheme is also considering increasing exposure to private equity through the Iride project launched together with Foncer, Fondenergia, and Fondo Pensione Pegaso, Ruggeri previously told IPE.

Investments in private assets have shown resilience in the first part of this year, helping to stabilise returns in 2022, he said.

The scheme’s sub-funds have recorded a positive performance in the second quarter of this year, reversing last year’s negative trend.

The sub-fund Conservativo con Garanzia, investing largely in bonds, returned 1.25% in the first six months of the year, from -3.10% recorded at the end of last year, according to the scheme’s Q2  financial statement.

The Bilanciato sub-fund, investing 70% of assets in bonds and 30% in equities, returned 3.39% in H1 this year, from -10.86% at the end of 2022.

The Dinamico sub-fund, investing 60% of assets in equities and 40% in bonds, returned 5.04% in H1 compared with -11.16% last year.

“Among the investments this year, I was particularly struck by the result of the Italian small-cap segment which, in my opinion, will have to be carefully evaluated in the next review of the strategic asset allocation of Gomma Plastica,” Ruggeri said.

IPE’s 2023 European Pensions Guide, including asset breakdowns of the leading 1000 funds, will be published in September

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