AUSTRIA - The €3.7bn Valida Pensionskasse has reported a 5.1% return for 2010, below the Austrian average of 6.6%.

The former ÖPAG Pensionskasse, which was rebranded as Valida a year ago, attributed the performance to a "more conservative" asset allocation.

At a press conference in Vienna today, Andreas Zakostelsky, managing director at Valida, said: "Last year, the markets were very volatile, and we are aiming for solidity, stability and sustainability."

He pointed out that, over the long term (between 1991 and 2010), Valida's annualised performance of 5.89% was still at par with the average of 5.95%.

Valida had more than doubled its equity quota from 16.1% in 2009 to 34.2% in 2010, mainly drawing money from its cash holdings, which shrunk to 4.7% from 17.1%.

The average equity quota for Austrian multi-employer is around 36%.

Bond holdings at Valida were reduced slightly from almost 60% to 52.5% - which is below the average in its peer group of 58.4%.

The rest is in alternatives (7.3%) and real estate 1.3%, with the average real estate quota at 3.2%.

Zakostelsky pointed out that, in the equity and bond portfolios, diversification into emerging markets had been one of the key changes over the last year and would continue in the year to come. 

For 2011, he said the fund would aim for another "healthy performance" of 5-6%, which is also what he expects the long-term average to be.

In other news, Austria's largest Pensionskasse, VBV, said it still believed in the growth of emerging markets, but saw a danger of overheating in the short term because of inflation and liquidity issues.

Michaela Attermeyer, head of asset management at the VBV, said: "Over the short term, we have considerably cut down our tactical allocation to emerging market equities - a measure that has already paid off."

The Pensionskasse is also planning to increase its exposure to real estate and global macro alternatives.

Lastly, the Victoria-Volksbanken Pensionskasse, last year's winner of the IPE country award for Austria, reported an 8.8% return for 2010.

The range of return - depending on the risk taken in the various investment and risk portfolios within the Pensionskasse - was between 5.9% and 10.4%.