GLOBAL - The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) has reported a loss of 1.7% in the second quarter of 2008, resulting in a fall of $1.5bn (€1bn) in the first six months of the year.

Latest figures showed the value of the pension fund's assets dropped to $39.9bn (€26.8bn) from $40.6bn in March, a fall of $704m,or 1.63% in just three months, slightly underperforming the benchmark return of -1.55% by eight basis points.

However, the UNJSPF quarterly report showed the funds outperformed both its new benchmark - 60% equities, 31% bonds, 6% real estate and 3% cash - and its old benchmark of 60% equities and 40% bonds, over one, three and five-year periods, with returns of 1.5%, 10.7% and 11.9% respectively. 

At the end of June, the scheme's investment in equities had fallen slightly from 57% to 56.9% - below the long-term strategy of 60% - while bond investments slipped from 36.8% to 36.4% over the three-month period, and real estate investment increased marginally from 4.4% to 4.6%.

In addition, the figures confirmed the pension fund, which consists of 22 member organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO), currently invests 38% of its money ($15.3bn) in North America, closely followed by $13.4bn (34%) of investments in Europe.

Investments in the Asia and Pacific region account for around $8.1bn of the total assets, while Latin America exposure is valued at just over $1bn with $423m allocated to the Middle East, $43m invested in Africa and the remaining funds distributed among other regions.

These latest results follow earlier losses of 2.7% in the first quarter of 2008, as the pension fund fell from $41.4bn at the end of 2007 to $40.6bn, resulting in an overall loss of around $1.5bn in the first half of the year.

Despite these recent losses, the UNJSPF revealed in its annual report for 2008 last month that the scheme has a funding level of 147% and an actuarial surplus of 0.49% of pensionable remuneration. (See earlier IPE article: UN staff pension funding level hits 147%)

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