Belgian occupational funds return 9.25%

BELGIUM - The average Belgian occupational pension fund returned 9.25% in 2006 - a very positive result, according to the Belgian Association of Pension Funds (BVPI).
Real estate investments and equities performed especially well, returning on average 34.2% and 13.4% respectively.
"On the equity markets, it is particularly the European and emerging market equities which pushed results up," said actuary Fabian de Bilderling during his presentation of the funds' results at a BVPI conference in Brussels today.
He added: "In 2006, the rise of the Euro weighed heavily on the investments in foreign currencies for pension institutions which had not covered their exchange rate."
In contrast, bonds just about returned 0.3% on average, hampered because some sectors of the bond markets closed in the red.
The study showed smaller funds have systematically performed less well in comparison to larger funds, and only the three largest funds achieved returns above 15%.

Similarly, in comparison to 2005's 14.96% return, 2006 appeared less upbeat, albeit De Bildering commented "if we had returns like this every year, very few people would complain".
De Bilderling also announced his departure as senior investment manager from the Belgacom pension fund yesterday, commenting to IPE he has started with the BVPI today.
He believes returns will rise even further in 2007, driven by the recent legislative changes in Belgium.

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