Irish pension funds lost further ground in February as the global recession appeared to deepen. Over the month, the average fund declined 5.7%, on the heels of a 1.9% loss in January, bringing the return for 2009, year to date, to a loss of -7.5%.
Standard Life Investments was the best performing manager during February, with a return of -5.0%. Irish Life Investment Managers delivered the worst performance over the month, with a return of -6.6%. Over the first two months of the year, returns ranged from -5.5% (Standard Life) to -9.1% (Irish Life Investment Managers).
Over the past twelve months, the average fund returned -34.5%, with returns ranging from -29.8% (Eagle Star) to -38.1% (Irish Life Investment Managers). The average managed fund return has been an extremely disappointing -14.0% per annum over the past three years. The five year returns to the end of February are also negative, with the average managed fund delivering a return of -3.0% per annum over this period.
Irish pension funds lost €27 billion during 2008 as managed funds declined 34.8%.
Fiona Daly, Managing Director of Rubicon Investment Consulting, commented:"Irish group pension managed fund returns over the past ten years have been a very disappointing -1.0% per annum on average, well below the Irish inflation rate of 3.5% per annum over the same time horizon. Indeed, none of the managers surveyed outperformed inflation over this period, with only Merrion Investment Managers delivering positive returns."