DENMARK - Labour market scheme PensionDanmark produced investment returns of around 10% for its members last year, helped by the effect of steeply falling bond yields.

The fund, which had DKK110.3bn (€14.8bn) in assets at the half-year stage in 2011, said its investments produced DKK10.6bn for members in the full 2011 year.

Managing director Torben Möger Pedersen said: "We toned down the risk profile in our portfolio in good time.

"At the same time, we succeeded in increasing investments in, for example, property and alternatives such as export credits and offshore wind farms, which produce a stable return over a long-time horizon."

Overall, this had proved to be the right investment strategy in 2011, he said.

Pre-tax returns for members ranged from 8.2% to 11.7% depending on the age group.
Under-41s see a return of 8.1%, while 50-year-olds receive 9.6% and those aged 65 get 11.7% on their savings, the fund said.

PensionDanmark runs a unit-link scheme, rather than a traditional with-profits plan.
The return had been boosted by steep falls in bond yields, it said.

Holdings in Danish government bonds, mortgage bonds and index-linked bonds produced a high return, which was supplemented by a particularly positive level of profit on stable equities, private equity and property, the fund said.

"We will continue to expand our property and alternative investment - and we are happy for this to be through public-private partnerships - in the next few years," Möger Pedersen said.

"Beyond this, we will maintain a cautious risk profile in an investment environment that continues to be very difficult."

In other news, AP Pension said it was maintaining the account dividend it pays on with-profits pensions at 4.7% from the beginning of this year.

This means it will have kept the same level of account dividend for four years in a row, the commercial pensions provider said.

Despite the dramatic market conditions in 2011, AP Pension said the year had been a good one for the institution.

For customers with the with-profits guaranteed product - who receive an account dividend - underlying returns showed signs of being particularly good, it said.

In all five yield groups, the return was more than 10%. In the yield group with the highest guarantees, it was more than 15%, it said, adding that final return figures would be revised in the course of January.

Managing director Søren Dal Thomsen said: "These great returns mean we can strengthen our reserves, and at the same time, from January 2012, we can give our customers the market's highest account dividend of 4.7%."

For customers with unit-link pensions, 2011 results were marked by price falls on investment markets.

Within life-cycle products, customers with five years to go until retirement saw a 2.3% return, while those with 30 years to go suffered a 3.7% loss.

However, AP Pension said unit-link customers would receive the usual 'kickback' payment, which had on average meant an extra 0.75% a year.

As a customer-owned organisation, AP Pension passes the discount it receives from investment managers for combining trades on to scheme members, in the form of a kickback bonus payment.