Shane Ross

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A blind Donkey would have Made More Money than the National Pensions Reserve Fund

Posted on: May 3rd, 2006

The National Pensions Reserve Fund has been inexplicably bad in the past year and a quarter. In the last three months, it is very difficult to understand how it only increased by 5.4%. The majority of its investments are in the stock market.

Stocks in the Pacific Basin increased by 5.7%; stocks in Japan increased by 6.8%; stocks in the rest of Europe increased by 8.5%; stocks in the euro zone increased by 10.4%; stocks in North America increased by 4.5% – so the fund beat them by almost 1%; stocks in the UK increased by 7.6%; and stocks in Ireland increased by 10.2%. The fund is second from the bottom when measured against those geographic sections.

I do not understand how it has done so badly. If it is invested in an average of all those markets, its performance would be at least 2% or 3% better. While it has issued a report stating it has increased by 5.4%, it is measuring itself against absolute zero; it does not have a benchmark. When measured against a world index, it has done badly. When measured against bonds, it has probably done well. When measured against property, it has obviously done pretty disastrously.

A blind donkey would have made money in the equity markets in the past two years. I do not understand all the patting on the back. While the headline figure of 5.4% looks pretty good, it is not very good when compared with anybody else or any other markets in the world. It is good against cash and bonds. However, it is not very good against anything else against which it should measure itself.