National Pensions Reserve Fund a winner in transparency index ratings

Cantillon: fund gets 10 out of 10 in latest rankings

‘The nice people minding the remains of the National Pensions Reserve Fund in Dublin’s Grand Canal Street can take some short-term pleasure from the Linaburg-Maduell Transparency Index Ratings.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘The nice people minding the remains of the National Pensions Reserve Fund in Dublin’s Grand Canal Street can take some short-term pleasure from the Linaburg-Maduell Transparency Index Ratings.’ Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

In case you missed it, this week saw the release of the long-awaited third-quarter Linaburg-Maduell Transparency Index Ratings, aka the Oscars of the sovereign wealth universe.

The main “takeaway” from the publication is that we, the State, did well and everybody likes it when we do well in internationally graded tests. In fact, we got a clean 10 out of 10.

The prize-winner in this instance was the National Pensions Reserve Fund, the erstwhile guardian of our future pensions before it was raided under the bailout. These days, the fund is all about strategic investments that might improve the domestic economy and make a profit at the same time.

It’s an unusual approach for a sovereign fund – one that has been described by the structure itself as a quest for a “double bottom line”. The jury is still out on the merits of same, but that’s an argument for another day.

In the meantime, the nice people minding the remains of the NPRF in Dublin’s Grand Canal Street can take some short-term pleasure from the aforementioned Linaburg-Maduell Transparency Index Ratings (let’s call them the LMTIRs for short).

The ratings are compiled by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, a body curiously-headquartered in Las Vegas that apparently carries some clout in this area. They are based on 10 different measures of a sovereign fund’s transparency – from providing clarity on the origin of funds to clearly outlining ethical standards and investment policies. One point, incidentally, is available for providing full contact details such as telephone numbers.

By achieving 10 points in the latest rankings (it has consistently done so of late), the NPRF is in the esteemed company of esteemed counterparts in Canada, Norway and New Zealand. Hurrah, although perhaps less so when it is noted that we were also on a par with Azerbaijan. For information, the Azeris get a score of 28 out of 100 from Transparency International for perceived corruption in their their public service, with zero “highly corrupt”.

But let’s not dwell on that.

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