BELGIUM – Average returns for Belgian pension funds in the first half of 2005 have matched returns for the whole 2004 - boosted by good equity and bond returns, according to a survey by the Belgian Association of Pension Institutions.

The association, BVPI/ABIP, represents 100 Belgian pension funds worth a total of €13bn. It said that on average first half returns have hit 8.68%, this compares with 8.93% posted in the whole year 2004.

General secretary Hugo Clemeur told IPE that the result was due to funds’ allocation to equities, on average 44%, and higher bond returns.

“So far no pension fund which has responded to the survey has reported significant asset allocation shifts,” Clemeur said.

According to the survey, which is based on responses from about 25% of the sector, average annual returns over the period from July 2004 end of June 2005 has been 13.18%.

Belgian pension schemes have raised their investments in UCITS to more than three-quarters of their total assets, according to the association.

UCITS assets now account for 76.8% of total assets at the schemes surveyed as at the end of 2004 - up from 65.5% four years earlier.

The association said then that the reasons for this are "diversification opportunities, especially for smaller funds, and tax motives".