Sweden’s state pension fund AP7 – the default defined contribution (DC) fund in the Premium Pension System (PPM) – reported a 0.5% loss for the first half of the year for its Såfa lifecycle product, which it said was still slimmer than the 1.7% loss private premium pensions suffered over the period.
The return on the Såfa product, which combines investments from AP7’s equity and bond funds, is much lower than the 9.8% AP7 managed to generate for its savers in the same period in 2015.
In its interim report, AP7 said the equity fund, which holds the bulk of the pension fund’s assets, suffered a 0.5% loss between January and June, in line with the benchmark index.
The bond fund, meanwhile, produced a return of 0.7%.
In the first half of 2015, the two funds returned 10.5% and 0.6%, respectively.
However, AP7 said developments on global stock markets had been strong in August this year.
“This has meant that the unit price for the AP7 equity fund, as of 24 August 2016, has increased by 7.3% since mid-year,” it said.
AP7’s board decided last year to scale back the leverage in the equity fund to 125% from 150%, from the summer of 2015.
The pension fund said the equity fund’s leverage rate was 124.8% as of the end of June.
Within its equities fund, AP7 said active alpha management had detracted from investment profits to the tune of SEK238m (€24.9m) in the half year.
Tactical asset allocation, on the other hand, contributed positively by SEK59m in the six-month period.
The pension fund explained that active management consisted of tactical allocation and pure alpha management involving taking long or short positions in shareholdings, while tactical asset allocation mainly involved departing from the established leverage ratio by 12 percentage points up or down.
AP7 also said it made an SEK25.3bn net profit on its active-equities lending programme in January to June via its depositary bank Bank of New York Mellon.
The equity fund’s assets fell in value to SEK259.7bn at the end of June from SEK261.1bn at the end of December 2015, while the bond fund’s assets grew to SEK23.5bn from SEK22.1bn, according to the interim data.