IRELAND – The €13.5bn Irish National Pensions Reserve Fund says it plans to commit around €3bn to private equity in the next five years or so.

And it has named a new head of private equity, Ronan Cunningham of Adam Street Partners, to lead the effort.

“The fund has decided to commit 8% of its assets to a global private equity programme,” the NPRF said. It said that, based on its estimated value at end-2009, its commitment to private equity “over the next five years or so should amount to up to €3bn”.

Chief investment officer John Cunningham told IPE that the main driver for getting into private equity was that the NPRF is a “classic long-term fund”. No payments have to be made until 2025 so “we don’t have any liquidity requirements”. “We can live with the vagaries of the sector,” he said.

He also revealed that the bulk of the allocation would be in the buyout sector and that the NPRF would be building its own fund of funds.

The fund also today reported a return of 7.9% - or €945m - for the first half of the year. “The numbers look good,” Cunningham added.

The fund said in February that it had targeted an 18% allocation to property, private equity and commodities by 2009 – and that it would not invest in hedge funds for the moment.