NETHERLANDS – The Dutch €7bn pension fund for medical consultants, SPMS, said it returned 16.3% in 2012, outperforming its benchmark by 0.4 percentage points.

With a result of 17.7% – an outperformance of 1.5 percentage points – equity was the best performing asset class, despite one-third of the 35% portfolio being passively managed, the fund’s director Jeroen Steenvoorden, said when discussing the preliminary figures.

The scheme attributed the 10.2% return on its 43% exposure to fixed income mainly to decreasing interest rates as well as a decreasing spreads in credit, but added that almost 1.6 percentage points was thanks to the performance of unspecified “selected managers”.

With expected returns of 6.7%, property also contributed to SPMS’s results, but nevertheless fell 2.4 percentage points short of its benchmark, according to the pension fund.

It noted a significant difference between the returns of listed property (21.3%) and non-listed real estate (3.3%).

“Although the difference has been traditional during the past years, it seems that listed property has performed especially well, while unlisted has done badly last year,” Steenvoorden said, adding that listed retail holdings have performed relatively well.

SPMS further said that, with a profit of over 4.4%, its 9% allocation to hedge funds outperformed its benchmark by over 0.4 percentage points.

The scheme had strategically hedged 78% of its interest risks through swaps and bonds, and saw the interest cover contribute 4.8 percentage points to its overall result, leading to a coverage ratio of 112% at year-end.

Following its pension promise, it has granted all participants 3% indexation.

BlackRock has been the fund’s fiduciary manager since the beginning of 2011, dealing with all asset classes except non-listed real estate.