France’s Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites (FRR) has returned 3% over the course of 2015, crediting its equity portfolio for the result during what it deemed a volatile year.

Seeing its investment performance down significantly compared with 2014’s 8.75%, FRR reported €36.3bn in assets at the end of last year.

The figure was down by €900m due to the annual €2.1bn transfer to the Caisse d’Amortissement de la Dette Sociale (CADES), responsible for France’s social security payments.

It credited its return-seeking asset portfolio with a return of 5.4% but saw its gains reduced after its liability-matching asset portfolio returned 0.1%.

The reserve fund nevertheless emphasised its strong overall performance, which, since the pension reforms of 2011, has seen it return 5.5% per annum, largely offsetting the required €10.5bn in transfers to CADES.

In a statement, the fund noted it had more than 150% of the assets required to meet its current obligations towards CADES.

Due to the current high funding level, it has been able to initiate its recent €2bn allocation towards more illiquid assets, it said.

The €2bn programme was initiated to combat the returns generated by the “horrible” low-interest-rate environment, executive board member Olivier Rousseau told IPE last year.

The programme saw FRR granted permission to invest beyond 2024, when, under the 2011 reform, its remaining assets were meant to be transferred to CADES.

The new €2bn strategy has seen the fund invest €200m in the intermediate housing fund (FLI) managed by Société Nationale Immobilière and commit €145m to the NOVI private equity fund – the latest in a suite of three funds set up by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations to offer loans and equity to small companies in France.