Crossing the Rubicon

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Irish Pension Funds make gains in March, but lose ground over first quarter of 2016

Stock markets regained some lost ground in March, as central banks around the world maintained accommodative positions. A broader than expected package of measures was announced by the ECB, while a number of other banks cut interest rates. Even those countries which have started, or had been expected to start, tightening monetary policy appeared somewhat more doveish.

March was a strong month overall for Irish pension funds, which gained 1.3% on average. Setanta Asset Management ranked top this month with a return of 2.4%, while Merrion Investment Managers propped up the league table with a return of 0.0%. Despite this month's gains, 2016 has been a gloomy year so far, with pension funds down 3.7% on average over the first quarter. Returns for the quarter ranged from -0.1% (Setanta Asset Management) to -7.0% (Merrion Investment Managers). Over the past twelve months, the average fund return was a disappointing -7.0%. Setanta Asset Management top the table over the past year with a return of -3.8%, while Merrion Investment Managers produced the lowest returns at -9.7%.

The average managed fund return has been a very strong 10.0% per annum over the past three years. The five-year average return is a healthy 9.8% per annum. Irish group pension managed fund returns over the past ten years have been 3.9% per annum on average.