DENMARK - ATP Group has reported an overall loss of DKK 2.4bn (€322m) in the first quarter, driven primarily by a 4.3% loss in the Special Pension Savings Scheme (SP).

Figures for the first three months of 2009 showed the ATP pension fund posted a small profit of DKK235bn after it returned 0.5%, or DKK1.4bn, through positive returns in three of its five risk classes - bonds, commodities and credit.

However, inflation-proof assets, including infrastructure and real estate, was one of the two asset classes to report negative returns, while equities yielded -3.8%, although ATP compared this against the -10% return on international equity markets over the same period.

The minor losses failed to offset all the positive gains though ATP claimed it is "still one of the healthiest pension funds in Europe, boasting reserves of DKK45bn", and said its results "will not affect ATP pensions".

Lars Rohde, chief executive of ATP, said: "A deep financial crisis continues to reverberate throughout large segments of the world economy. ATP has managed to turn a small profit in a negative equity market. This has been achieved, in particular, thanks to our investment allocation, which has been designed to weather all types of economic storms."

Meanwhile ,the state-owned SP fund, run by ATP, reported a market return loss of DKK1.8bn in the first quarter bringing the value of its assets to about DKK40bn, contributing to an overall loss on investments for the group of DKK1.4bn.

The quarterly results follow suggestions last week that 60% of Danes will withdraw assets from their SP this year, which could equate to a loss of DKK25bn, and would use their money to fund luxuries such as holidays and flat-screen TVs. (See earlier IPE article: Danes to withdraw €3.3bn from pensions 'for luxuries')

As a result of the Danish government's decision to allow access to the savings - announced in March - Rohde revealed ATP had adjusted the investment strategy of the SP fund.

"In March, we decided to reallocate 25% of SP's equity investments to cash in a rising equity market. The reallocation was founded in a wish to meet the objective of the Danish government's bill without affecting markets during the disbursement period," he said.

Figures from the first three months showed the number of people receiving a lifelong pension from ATP rose to 719,000, up 47,000 from the same period in 2008, while the value of the benefits paid out increased DKK213m year-on-year to DKK2.2bn.

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