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​Possibility of Greek exit already factored into portfolio – APG

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APG, the €400bn asset manager for the Dutch civil service pension fund ABP, has said it has already adjusted its investment portfolio for the consequences of a possible exit of Greece from the euro-zone.

Harmen Geers, spokesman for APG, said the asset manager had already underweighted its Italian government bond holdings relative to the benchmark, and that its sovereign debt portfolio for the country was now worth €12bn. 

He said APG had shifted its strategic government bond allocation in favour of UK and US government paper.

But Geers also took pains to emphasise that APG was a long-term investor.

“We are not going to change our investments on a daily basis following elections somewhere,” he said. 

He also declined to speculate on the danger of contagion spreading to Italy or Spain, underlining that the two countries’ fundamentals were “different”. 

“Currently, Italy is implementing reforms, while Spain has a more stable political climate,” Geers said.

APG’s spokesman pointed to the uncertainty still surrounding the new Greek government’s plans, as well as the impact of the ECB’s recently announced bond purchasing programme.

At the moment, APG has just €144m and €19m, respectively, in equity and bond holdings in Greece, according to Geers, who stressed that the investments would not be rendered immediately worthless in the event of a “Grexit”.

“The new value of our Greek assets would largely depend on the exchange rate of a new currency,” he said.

Geers said APG had a system ready to deal with any new currency, as a legacy of its preparations for a possible Greek exit from the euro in 2011.

“Such a mechanism was very relevant at the time, when our holdings in Greek assets were much bigger than today,” he said.

Currently, APG has €7bn and €800m worth of Spanish and Irish government bonds, respectively, in its portfolio.

It has divested all its Portuguese government bonds.

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