Belgian pension funds last year recorded a flat rate of return, with figures just above zero, according to a preliminary survey by the Belgian Association of Pension Funds (BAPF).

The survey of 24 funds to which 19 replied – accounting for around Bfr230bn in assets (1999 figures show the whole BAPF universe representing Bfr343bn), registered a weighted average of 0.03% - or 0.09% unweighted.

According to a spokesperson at the BAPF last year was one of the worst in the history of the Belgian stock market and so the results were not unexpected.

The smallest category of Belgian funds – those with up to Bfr1bn in assets - were the best performers, returning around 1% on average, which the spokesperson explains by their bond orientated investment strategies and relatively small investment in high risk assets.

The range of results recorded amongst the funds ran from the highest performer with 5%
to the lowest with –3%.

The BAPF will start its full survey of Belgian funds in March with figures released at the end of May, as well as statistics on asset mixes and plan specifics.