IRELAND - The €17.6bn Irish National Pensions Reserve Fund reported positive investment returns both for the third quarter (5.5%) and over the last 10 months (6.9%) after negative returns (-3.8%) in the second quarter.

"The fund's strong third quarter performance has been driven by a return in confidence to global equity markets following the sell-off of the early summer. Europe, in particular, has produced substantial year-to-date returns with economic activity consistently exceeding forecasts and corporate profits ahead of start year expectations," said Michael Somers, CEO of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which manages the fund.

"However, continued progress is dependent on the US economy's ability to achieve a soft landing," he warned.
In the course of the third quarter the fund has committed a total of €241m to five property investment vehicles and €16m to one private equity investment vehicle. The target allocation for both asset classes combined is 8% to be achieved by end 2009.

Earlier this month, the fund re-awarded €6bn in two passive equity mandates to the incumbent managers Bank of Ireland Asset Management/State Street Global Advisors and Barclays Global Investors in a move to make the mandates more flexible.