The Government announced the establishment of the Strategic Investment Fund in September 2011. The SIF will channel commercial investment from the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) towards productive investment in the Irish economy. As well as money from the NPRF, the SIF will seek matching commercial investment from private investors and target investment in areas of strategic significance to the future of the Irish economy.
I am informed by the National Treasury Management Agency, as Manager of the National Pensions Reserve Fund, that the NPRF announced in November 2011 a commitment of €250 million to a new Irish infrastructure investment fund which is seeking up to €1 billion from institutional investors in Ireland and overseas and which will invest in infrastructure assets in Ireland, including assets designated for disposal by the Government and commercial State enterprises and also new infrastructure projects. Marketing of this fund in Ireland by Irish Life Investment Managers and abroad by AMP Capital commenced in the first quarter of 2012. Normally the period from commencement of marketing of an investment fund targeting illiquid assets to closure of financial commitments by investors in such a fund can extend up to one year. In parallel, AMP Capital, the infrastructure manager of the fund, has commenced a process of building a pipeline of appropriate investment opportunities.
The NPRF has also committed €450 million to finance the national roll out of domestic water meters subject to certain conditions. In addition, the NPRF is actively supporting the development of the market for venture capital in Ireland through its continued participation in Innovation Fund Ireland in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. On 15 March 2012, the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation announced the commencement of the second call for expressions of interest from appropriately qualified international venture capital managers.
Further involvement of the NPRF in the SIF is expected to require the amendment of the investment policy of the NPRF, which is set out in the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000. Officials of my Department are liaising with the National Treasury Management Agency, which is the Manager of the NPRF, in identifying and drafting the necessary amendments to the legislation and I expect to bring forward proposals for amending legislation as soon as possible once that work is completed.