GLOBAL - The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) has seen its asset value increase by 2.2% to $38.35bn (€30.9bn) in the first quarter of the year.

Latest figures from the scheme, which covers 22 organisations and has more than 100,000 participants, reported an investment return of 2.1% over the quarter, beating the benchmark figure of 1.9% and this compares to a 2.7% increase in assets in the final three months of 2009. (See earlier IPE article: UN fund returns 20.3% in 2009)

Total assets of the fund, which were invested in 39 countries, 7 international/regional institutions and 27 currencies at the end of March 2010, increased by $814m in the quarter, while the asset allocation of the scheme saw a slight increase in equities from 64.2% to 65.6% against the long-term target of 60%.

The UNJSPF’s investment in bonds reduced at the beginning of the year from 30.2% to 28.6%, with the difference going towards the equity increase and a higher allocation to short-term assets such as cash, which increased from 1.9% to 2.2%. The remainder of the fund is invested in real estate.

In the quarterly report the scheme noted the management of the investments “continues to focus on balancing the risk and reward expectations by apportioning the fund’s assets according to goals, risks and investment horizon”.

And while it admitted the investment strategy had underperformed the one-year benchmark target with a return of 32.2% against 33.7%, the fund had outperformed over both a three and five-year period with returns of 0.8% and 5.7% respectively.