NETHERLANDS - The €7.2bn pension fund for general practitioners (SPH) in the Netherlands is looking for a strong strategic partner for its own provider DPFS during the current turbulence in the pension sector.

In its annual report for 2010, SPH said external support was desirable, since the €5.6bn scheme for medical consultants (SPMS) left DPFS last year, after it had been a long-time co-owner of the provider.

Although SPMS said its change followed the need for benefits of scale, more expertise and an increased focus on risk management, SPH stressed that it was still satisfied with DPFS.

After loosing 10 percentage points of coverage to a full indexation of 2.7% and increased liabilities following new longevity predictions, the doctors' scheme still has a funding ratio of more than 146%.

SPH reported a return of 8.3%, including a 2.2% combined loss of its hedge against inflation, interest and currency risk.

With returns of 14.3%, 11.1% and 10.4%, respectively, equity, private equity and property were the scheme's best returning asset classes.

Real estate performed well mainly due to listed indirect property, in the US in particular.

Fixed income and hedge funds also outperformed, returning 8% and 8.7%, according to SPH. It attributed the fixed income result to credit and emerging market debt.

With a return of 2.4%, infrastructure fell 50% short of its benchmark, while the internal tactical asset allocation contributed -0.3% to the scheme's result.

The doctors' pension fund said it had kept its strategic asset allocation unchanged at 32.5% equity, 35% fixed income, 12.5% property, 5% each for commodities, hedge funds and inflation-linked bonds, as well as 2.5% each for private equity and infrastructure.

SPH, which has a nine-strong pension bureau for board support, said it was monitoring risks every month.

It added that provider DPFS had introduced MSCI Barra One, allowing it to monitor market risk at the managerial level.

SPH provides a relatively low standard pension that can be increased with indexation and flexible components, such as the option of a benefit in advance for pensioners and arrangements for flexible retirement.

The Stichting Pensioenfons Huisartsen has 16,440 participants in total, of which 9,785 are active and 5,420 are pensioners.