BELGIUM – Pension funds in Belgium are on track to equal the near-10% return they made in 2003 following a positive 4.59% return in the first half of this year.

The Belgian Association of Pension Institutions said the average weighted return of member funds surveyed amounted to 4.59% for the first six months - compared to 3.18% for the same period of 2003.

It said: “If this trend persists the resulting 2004 figure would be 9.39%.” In 2003 the return was 9.29%.

Tony Ossenblok, the advisor to the association, said: “This is a very good figure, we’re pleased with the first period.” He put the performance down to positive financial markets.

Belgian funds’ equity allocation has been rising – up to 44% at the end of 2003 from 42% a year earlier. “It’s probably due to price effects,” Ossenblok said. “I don’t think there a lot of equity acquisition.”

The survey comprised total assets of 4.9 billion euros or nearly half of total sector assets. The association was established in 1975 and now has around 100 members representing 10.3 billion euros.