IRELAND – The Irish equity market (ISEQ) was the only equity market not to fall back into negative figures for the fourth quarter in 2000, according to an Irish pooled pension fund survey by investment consultant William M. Mercer.

ISEQ’s zero returns for the last quarter meant that Irish equities avoided excessive downside – mostly as a result of low exposure to so-called ‘new economy’ stocks - to post a strong return of 15.7%, the report says.

The average return of Irish managed pooled pension funds in 2000 was 2.6%, dampened by a drop of 3.2% in the last quarter.
Canada Life/Setanta (10.8%) and Bank of Ireland Asset Management (BIAM) (8.4%) were the best performers.
At the other end of the spectrum both Baillie Gifford and Eagle Star managed pooled funds recorded -2.8% last year.

The survey suggests that the highest ranked managers used different styles of investment: Canada Life/Setanta (1st) and Montgomery Oppenheim (3rd) achieved solid returns in new economy in the opening quarter of the year and managed to reduce their exposure to technology, media and telecommunications stock quickly as the volatility of the sectors emerged.
BIAM (2nd), New Ireland (4th) and Irish Life Investment Management (5th), on the other hand, all performed well on a value stock bias.

An overweight position in fixed income, property and Irish equities would have helped a manager’s standing, suggests the consultant.