IRELAND - Group managed pension funds fell 6.7% in January, the largest monthly fall since September 2002, after Société Générale "exacerbated" volatility in the global equity markets.

According to figures from Rubicon Investment Consulting, the worst performing fund was Friends First/F&C which returned -7.7% over the month. Setanta Asset Management, which returned -5.2%, was the best performing fund in the survey.

Oppenheim Investment Managers was also among the top performing funds with a return of -5.3%, but Standard Life Investments and KBC Asset Management were near the bottom of the table with performance of  -7.6%.

However, over a one-year period, the weakest performing fund was Bank of Ireland Asset Management, with -13.3% compared to the average of -9.8%, while Eagle Star produced the best return of -6.6%.

As a result of the recent losses, Rubicon revealed that Irish pension funds have lost almost 10% of their value over the past 12 months, following a 2.7% fall in 2007, while the average managed fund has returned just 6.9% over three years, and an even lower 5% over a 10-year period.

However, the investment consultant claimed January was an "exceptionally volatile month", which it partly attributed to the trading activity at Société Générale, as it claimed the closing out of positions "exacerbated market volatility" and led to the largest single day loss in European Equities since September 2001.

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