Investment in BlueBay SME fund
Small and medium-sized enterprises are likely to be adopting a “believe-it-when- we-see-it” approach to the latest attempt to get the sector moving – the fund being launched by the National Pensions Reserve Fund in conjunction with investment manager BlueBay.
It emerged this week that BlueBay Ireland Corporate Credit 1 Ltd (snappy, eh?) had raised €450 million and is getting ready to lend this out to cash-hungry Irish businesses. From the potential borrowers’ perspective, the key question will be the cost of the funds (yet to be established), although they may also be interested in where the money is coming from.
As it turns out, some of it might be coming from their own pockets, with one leading union that represents workers in many SMEs – the Construction Workers Pension Scheme – investing about €40 million in the fund, which is aimed at the medium-sized end of the SME cohort.
The CWPS has committed the cash as part of BlueBay’s drive to attract in exter- nal investment; the National Pensions Reserve Fund has promised €200 million, with the remainder sourced elsewhere on the promise of superior investment returns.
The CWPS is one of the State’s largest pension funds, with about €1.2 billion under management. Its latest investment move came on the counsel of specialist advisory firm Acuvest, which is chaired by former Irish Life chief David Kingston.
Acuvest chief executive John Tuohy says the BlueBay investment is a “dynamic” move on the part of the CWPS, as companies shift away from defined-benefit pension schemes and become even more focused on investment outcomes.
“That requires fresh thinking in terms of both investment and how funds are governed,” says Tuohy. “In that regard, CWPS is ahead of the curve but I see lots of companies coming to a similar conclusion, which is good for employees.”