The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) will take up to four years to re-deploy its €7bn in assets, according to the head of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).

John Corrigan, who is to retire as chief executive of the NTMA at the end of December, also said the organisation’s chairman Willie Walsh would soon start recruiting members of the ISIF investment committee.

Speaking with IPE at the fringes of the Mandarine Gestion investment conference in Munich, Corrigan said while the legislation underpinning the ISIF was now on the statute books, he was awaiting the commencement order from Finance minister Michael Noonan.

According to the NTMA (Amendment) Act 2014, the ISIF – which has previously been referred to as a sovereign development fund and will be funded with assets from the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) – will not be barred from investing outside of Ireland.

However, its activity is meant to “support economic activity and employment” in the country as long as portfolio returns outpace the government’s annual borrowing costs over a five-year period.

Eugene O’Callaghan, currently in charge of investment at the NPRF and head of investments-designate at the ISIF, has acknowledged the challenge of balancing the dual objectives.

Corrigan further said that once the commencement order was signed by government – officially launching the ISIF – Walsh, who joined the NTMA’s advisory board in 2013, would begin appointing members of the investment board.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Finance said the commencement order would not be signed until the new NTMA board was in place, which it expected would be by October.

She added that once the NTMA board had been established, it would look at the composition of the investment committee.

Ahead of the ISIF’s official launch, the NPRF has been making a number of commitments, including to a suite of funds lending to small and medium-sized enterprises and a joint venture with the China Investment Corporation

As of the end of June, it had committed €1.2bn of its €7bn portfolio to upcoming projects.