Irish pension fund hires Adams Street pro

Former director at Adams Street Partners Ronan Cunningham is joining Ireland’s National Pension Reserve Fund to head up its new €3bn private equity programme.

The Irish National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has announced that it has hired a new head of private equity, Ronan Cunningham.

We will make commitments across the full private equity spectrum, but will mainly focus on mid and large cap buyout funds.

John Corrigan, director, NPRF

Cunningham will take up his post on 8th August and joins from the London office of global fund of funds manager Adams Street Partners.

In February, the NPRF announced plans to commit 8 percent of its assets to private equity by 2009, giving Cunningham a mandate to invest up to €3 billion ($3.6 billion) in the asset class.

Speaking to PEO, NPRF director John Corrigan said: “We’re looking to assemble our own fund of funds business inhouse. We will make commitments across the full private equity spectrum, but will mainly focus on mid and large cap buyout funds.”

Corrigan confirmed that the fund was on the verge of making its first commitment of €75 million, which was expected to close “in the next few days”.

The €13.5 billion NPRF has also revealed its half-year results, which reported a return of 7.9 percent (€945 million) for the first half of 2005.

At the same time as announcing its move into private equity in February, the NPRF also decided to commit a similar amount to real estate and the team led by Ian Gleeson has already committed €200 million to international property investments.

Due to its funding structure, the NPRF is ideally suited to investing in private equity. Set up by the Irish government, the fund will receive an annual contribution of 1 percent of Ireland’s GNP and no drawdowns can be made from the fund before 2025.