IRELAND – Gerry Ryan, company secretary of Irish telecoms firm Eircom, has been named chairman of the Irish Association of Pension Funds.

Ryan’s appointment was approved at the IAPF’s annual general meeting last week, the IAPF said. He takes over from John Feely, who had completed his two-year term of office. Ryan will remain in his post at Eircom.

“The industry faces some major challenges as we look forward,” Ryan said. “The IAPF has been reviewing its priorities and intends to focus its efforts on a number of key areas over the next year or so.”

“These include Asset and Scheme Governance, pension coverage and adequacy, simplification, funding and PRSAs [personal retirement savings_accounts].”

Ryan runs Eircom’s two main pension funds, which have a combined asset value of around 2.9 billion euros.

Joe Byrne, deputy managing director and group actuary of actuarial and employee benefits consultant Coyle Hamilton, was elected vice chairman.

According to IAPF figures, Irish pension funds lost an average 19% in 2002. Ireland’s minister for social and family affairs Mary Coughlan said in March that the government’s approach to supplementary pensions cover – in the form of PRSAs - “should be given one last chance”.