BELGIUM - Pension funds reduced their exposure to equity last year from 53% in 1999 to 49.9% in 2000, dipping below the halfway mark broken last year due to the turbulence in the markets, according to this years performance figures from the Belgian Association of Pension Funds (BAPF).

The BAPF records that bond exposure on the other hand jumped from 33% the previous year to 40.3%.
Property allocations remained stable, dipping slightly to 3.9% from 4.4%, while cash holdings fell from 9.6% to 5.9%.
“ We can only conclude that investment in bonds was made to the detriment of shares.
“ The result seems to find its origins on the one hand in the good results of the bond markets and on the other hand in the negative returns of the equity markets, especially during the last trimester of the year,” says the BAPF.

The survey this year received responses from a total of 135 funds, representing BEF397.3bn (e9.8bn).
Out of 131 funds responding to the question, 21% said they were defined contribution (DC) plans, 65% were defined benefit (DB) and 11% were a hybrid of the two.

The BAPF also notes that employees covered by the association figures have increased by 84% due to the adding of a new sector pension fund covering around 140,000 employees.
“ This increase is an concrete indication of the increase of participation rates in the second pillar. The level represents 40% of Belgian salaried workers today.”