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Bertie Ahern to become chairman of International Forestry Fund

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Former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern will become chairman of the International Forestry Fund, a joint venture of the Irish Forestry Fund and Helvetia Wealth, on 1 January 2010.

The International Forestry Fund, created in March 2009, is offering the opportunity of direct forestry investment to institutional investors.

The fund invests in forestry in Ireland, the UK, and Central America, growing a mixture of species ranging from spruce and pine in Europe to tropical timbers such as teak, mahogany, and rosewood.
 
The fund buys existing forests, or land which is then afforested. Key to its strategy is that it will acquire the title to all properties for the benefit and protection of its investors. All lands and forestry will be subjected to strict independent assessment prior to purchase; this external monitoring will remain in place throughout the fund’s ownership of its forestry and land.
 
A forest certification process ensures that the forests are managed sustainably.
 
Ahern (pictured) says: "I am delighted and honoured to be joining the International Forestry Fund at this very exciting time for this sector. The stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way that is productive and progressive is vitally important today and for future generations. Much work is still required to achieve balance between society’s increasing demands for forest products and benefits, and the preservation of forest health and diversity. I look forward to working with the International Forestry Fund in the years ahead to develop a structured process for the long term management of forests in keeping with the principles of sustainable development."
 
The fund is open-ended with a five-year initial lock-up period. Minimum investment is EUR100,000. The fund targets annualised returns of seven to ten per cent. There is a 1.5 per cent management fee and a ten per cent performance fee over ten-year Euro bond returns.
 
"Helvetia Wealth is delighted to broaden its product portfolio into alternative investments with the International Forestry Fund. We strongly believe in the success of this fund. Creating more renewable resources to cater to issues like the increasing demand for biofuels is an irreversible trend and an environmental necessity. We want to facilitate this trend by providing the appropriate financial tools and lucrative investment opportunities," says Kamil Stender, chief executive of Helvetia Wealth.
     
Helvetia Wealth’s core business is the provision of Swiss private banking solutions and asset management services.

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