GLOBAL - The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) increased the value of its assets by almost $1bn to $37.5bn (€27.6bn) in the final quarter of 2009.

Latest figures from the pension fund showed the value of assets rose by $989m, or 2.7%, in the three months to 31 December 2009. However, this is significantly lower than the third quarter return of 12.3% that saw the assets increase by almost $4bn. (See earlier IPE article: UNJSPF grows by €2.7bn in Q3)

The asset allocation of the fund at the end of the year comprised 64.2% in equities - against the long-term guideline of 60% - while bonds accounted for 30.2%, real estate for 3.7% and the remainder was invested in short-term assets.

Preliminary investment returns for the third quarter reached 2.8% to bring the total return for the year to 20.3%. This was still slightly below the benchmark target of 20.9% for the year, although the scheme had outperformed the target in the fourth quarter as well as over a three and five-year period with returns of 1% and 5.1% respectively. 

In the investment report the UNJSPF attributed the outperformance to active management, such as “effective stock selection and periodic re-balancing of assets to maintain the fund’s long-term investment objective”. It said the fund’s investments remains focused on balancing risk and reward expectations by “apportioning the fund’s assets according to goals, risks and investment horizon”.

At the end of 2009 the pension scheme, which covers 22 organisations and has more than 100,000 participants, was invested in 41 countries and 27 currencies. Figures showed the highest allocation was to North American investments, totalling $15.6bn, closely followed by $11.67bn in European assets. The smallest regional investment was the Middle East with just $10m, while Africa had an allocation of $360m.

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