Denmark’s ATP made a 17.2% pre-tax return on its investments in 2015, partly on the back of a 48% return on its holdings of Danish equities.
In its release of full-year financial data, the pension fund revealed that its liabilities – the value of its guaranteed pensions for almost 5m Danes – fluctuated considerably during 2015, varying by almost DKK100bn (€13.4bn) over the course of the year.
Despite the swings, which it blamed on rises and falls in interest rates, the value of ATP’s guaranteed pensions ended the year at DKK604bn, down from DKK608bn the year before.
Carsten Stendevad, chief executive at ATP, said: “High investment returns, even lower administration expenses and higher ATP pensions made 2015 a good year for ATP.”
The pension fund’s member assets rose to DKK705bn from DKK704bn.
Its high-volume hedging activity, designed to protect the return guarantees it gives members, made a loss of DKK2.27bn in 2015, but it said this loss – at less than half a percent of the guaranteed pensions – was satisfactory.
In absolute terms, the pension fund made a DKK16.5bn return before expenses and tax, equating to 17.2%, up from DKK6bn in 2014.
ATP’s bonus potential, or reserves, grew to DKK101.2bn by the end of December from DKK95.8bn at the same point the year before.
Within its investment portfolio, which consists of these bonus reserves, ATP said results had been mainly driven by good returns on its equity and inflation risk classes of DKK11.4bn and DKK7.5bn, respectively.
The biggest detractors from returns were commodities, due mostly to falling oil prices.
ATP said this year’s life expectancy update increased guaranteed pensions by DKK3.7bn, or 0.6%.
This extra provision was due to the fact the observed increase in Danish life expectancy over the past year was higher than expected, rising by 2.5 months for women and three months for men.
Administrative costs fell during 2015 by 7%.
Investment costs, however, rose by 6% during the year, partly due to increased trading activity on liquid investment strategies, new mandates and increased market values.
“In 2015,” ATP said, “focus was also on illiquid investments with a higher degree of direct control than in the past, and these investments have increased in volume.”