IRELAND – The National Pensions Reserve Fund says it committed a €225m to real estate and private equity in the first quarter of 2006.

“During the quarter the fund committed a total of €135m to three property investment vehicles and €90m to two private equity investment vehicles,” the fund said.

It added: “The fund has a target 8% allocation to both these asset classes: this target to be achieved on a phased basis by end 2009.”

The fund disclosed a 5.4% return on investments in the quarter, the equivalent of €830m – taking its value to €16.6bn.

National Treasury Management Agency chief executive Michael Somers said first-quarter returns were driven by continued strong growth in equity markets, particularly in Europe, as companies continued to reap the benefits of efficiencies executed over previous years.

But he noted that markets were on inflation watch given commodity prices at, or close to, record levels.

Earlier this month the fund awarded a €80m EAFE small-cap equity brief to AXA Rosenberg Investment Management.

“The award of the mandate has enabled the fund to complete the funding of its small cap equity allocation bringing it up to 4% in line with its target strategic asset allocation,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Irish pensions regulator, the Pensions Board, has announced details of the May 1-7 National Pensions Action Week.

“With nearly half the Irish workforce not having any pension cover it is time for people to stop putting it off and start funding a pension,” said chief executive Anne Maher.

“Our advice is to talk to your employer, pick up the phone to a provider, talk to a parent or friend if required or check out our online pension calculator, but whatever else, use National Pensions Action Week to take action on securing your future.”