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Transport scheme divests infrastructure in favour of unlisted property

Vervoer, the €25bn Dutch sector pension fund for road transport, fully sold out of its infrastructure holdings in favour of unlisted property last year.

Commenting on the scheme’s annual report, Willem Brugman, Vervoer’s director, said that the 0.6% infrastructure holding was too small.

“Because of its scale, it contributed little to the overall return, while we did need to keep on monitoring the investment,” he pointed out, adding that the proceeds had easily exceeded the divestment costs.

Brugman said that the proceeds from the sales would be used to increase the scheme’s 2% allocation to private real estate.

“On balance, this would increase our envisaged holdings of illiquid investments without the need for additional attention,” he said.

Vervoer attributed its net return of 4.7% – an outperformance of 0.7% – largely to the 12.2% gain on its equity investments in the US, Europe and Japan. It said emerging markets had been the worst performer.

The fund made 4.4% on its currency hedge, which it said was due to the decline of the dollar, pound and yen relative to the euro, all of which were fully hedged.

This more than compensated the 2.2% loss on its interest rate hedge as a consequence of rising interest rates. It had hedged 58% of its portfolio by market value against interest rate movements.

Vervoer said it had since reduced its hedge of the dollar to 85%.

The pension fund also reported that it had started a project for integrated risk management, focusing on systematic risk and policy analyses of the main asset classes.

A second project was aimed at checking implementation processes of the scheme’s administrative office.

Elsewhere in its annual report, Vervoer said it had traced approximately 6,000 people with pension entitlements who had disappeared from the scheme’s radar after they had moved abroad.

According to Brugman, the fund was also planning to deploy a new search method to find deferred participants whose social security number was not registered by the scheme.

Vervoer has 170,325 active participants, 392,590 deferred members and 89,930 pensioners affiliated with 7,950 employers. At April-end, its funding ratio stood at 106.3%.

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