AP4, one of Sweden’s large national buffer funds, reported a return of 1.9% on investments in the first six months of the year, with domestic equities suffering a 2.7% loss.
The fund, whose assets grew to SEK312bn (€33.1bn) by the end of June from SEK310bn at the end of December, said it was pleased with the result, even though it was well below the 6.1% achieved in the same period last year.
Mats Andersson, AP4’s chief executive, who is stepping down from his job, said: “It is rewarding that AP4, with our long-term investment focus, delivers a positive total return despite stock market turmoil in connection with Brexit.”
Over the past 10 years, he said, AP4 had generated an average return of 6.8% after expenses.
Anderssen will be replaced by Niklas Ekvall on 1 October, and, in the meantime, AP4’s head of equities Per Colleen will act as interim chief executive.
In absolute terms, AP4 made a SEK5.7bn profit in the first half of this year, down from SEK18bn in the same period last year.
In the first half, AP4 paid a net contribution to the Swedish pension system of SEK3.2bn, up from the SEK2.4bn it paid in January to June 2015.
Equities overall suffered a 1.9% loss for AP4 in the first half, with global equities making a 1.6% loss and Swedish equities losing 2.7%, according to the interim data.
Real estate, on the other hand, produced a 9.8% return in the period, and fixed income generated 4.1% in returns
Real estate makes up 7% of AP4’s total assets, fixed income 33%, Swedish equities 18% and global equities 39%.
AP4 said in its report that stock markets had opened the year negatively and recovered but then weakened again, with severe market turbulence during June in connection with Britain’s Brexit referendum vote.
Equity markets in Japan, Europe and Sweden were among those to dip below the zero mark at mid-year, it said.
However, currency and interest-rate developments bolstered overall returns.
“Long-term government interest rates in major markets fell during the period resulting in a positive contribution to the total portfolio,” AP4 said.
It added that the weakening of the Swedish krona against the euro, the US dollar and the Japanese yen had been positive for the valuation of the foreign assets in its total portfolio.