IRELAND - Irish group managed pension funds delivered a second month of positivereturns, with an average result of 0.2% in May.

Latest figures from Rubicon Investment Consulting showed the returns from managed funds remained positive in May, following the rally in April which produced an average result of 4.2%.  

Canada Life/Setanta Asset Management produced the best performance with returns of 1.2%, and although returns from six of the remaining nine managers stayed flat, the overall average was positive at 0.2%.

Oppenheim Investment Managers was one of two other managers to produce a return above zero, at 0.9%, alongside AIB Investment Managers which returned 0.4%.

Hibernian Investment Managers was the only fund manager, meanwhile, to report a negative return of -0.1%.

That said, despite two months of positive returns, Rubicon revealed in the first five months of 2008 group managed funds have dropped by an average of 7.5%.

In addition, over a 12-month period the reduction is even more pronounced with average returns of -14.9%, with the Bank of Ireland Asset Management highlighted as the worst performer over the year with a fall of 18.1%.

However, Rubicon highlighted the average managed fund has shown a "modest gain" of 5.2% a year over the past three years, with AIB Investment Managers producing the best performance with returns of 7.4% a year.

The research also confirmed the five-year returns to the end of May "remain strong", as the average managed fund delivered a return of 8.7% per annum over this period.

That said, Rubicon admitted because of the recent downturn in equity markets, Irish group pension managed fund returns over the past 10 years have been a "disappointing 3.9% per annum on average, compared with an Irish inflation rate of 3.8% per annum over the same period".

Meanwhile, latest figures from Hewitt's managed fund survey show the average return on the 25 funds in the index was slightly lower than Rubicon at 0.1%.

Of these, eight funds reported flat returns while eight funds achieved negative returns ranging from -0.1% for New Ireland, Hibernian and AIBIM Passive, to the worst return of -0.3% from Friends First Consensus.

However, the figures also showed nine funds reported positive returns, with Canada Life/Setanta and Oppenheim Investment Managers remaining the best performers, although they were closely followed by Mercer with returns of 0.6%.

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