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French fund goes 55% for equities

Francis Mayer, head of the E13bn French reserve fund, has confirmed that 55% of the fund will be allocated to investments in equities and 45% to fixed interest securities.
Speaking in Paris, Mayer announced that 38% of the fund will be invested in Euro-zone equities, and 17% in equities outside of the Euro-zone. Some 38% will also be allocated to fixed income securities within the Eurozone and 7% to those outside.
The asset allocation is described by Mayer as “reasonably prudent.” Independent experts have been advising the fund, and Mayer is reported by the French press as saying that the 55% figure to be invested in equities is less than that recommended by both their report, and that suggested by historical market trends.
Re-enforcing the issue of prudence, Mayer cited the equity allocations of CalPERS and the Ireland’s National Reserve Pension Fund(NRPF) as comparisons. CalPERS, the largest US pension fund invests 60% in equities and the Irish NRPF allocates 80% to the asset class.
The next important step will consist in appointing the members of the Managers Selecting Committee (Comité de séléction des gérants), which will help to select competitive asset managers.
Mandates for the management of the fund will be put out to tender in the second half of 2003. Both domestic and foreign asset managers will be considered.

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