NETHERLANDS – Equity and real estate were the main drivers behind above-benchmark returns at the €4.7bn scheme for Dutch medical consultants, Stichting Pensioenfonds Medisch Specialisten.

With returns of 28.4% and 16.1% respectively, equity and real estate helped SPMS’s 2005 return of 11.8%, the occupational scheme said in its annual report.

The returns outperformed the benchmark by 0.6%. Without the 4.4% costs of hedging against currency risks, the total returns would have been 16.2%, Stichting Pensioenfonds Medisch Specialisten, or SPMS, added.

Its coverage ratio, based on market rates, has risen from 116% to 121%. The nominal funding ratio was up to 199% at the end of 2005, it said.

According to the scheme, its buffers are back at the desired level. “If the buffers rise further, there will be room for profit-sharing with the members.”

As of January 1, the pension benefits and rights at SPMS increased by 2%, whilst the income of the active members hasn’t risen last year. “Because the scheme only provides a basic pension, protection against inflation is important,” it stressed.

SPMS has had its own investment policy since the start of 2005. It has housed almost all of its 30 mandates for mainly active management with external managers.

Up to then, its assets were managed by external provider Doctors Pension Funds Services, or DPFS.

DPFS is still SPMS’ adviser on strategic investment policy. It is also still responsible for its tactical investment policy, and the monitoring and steering of its external managers, the scheme stated.

SPMS carries out the occupational scheme for over 6,500 self-employed medical consultants. Its invested assets total €4.7bn, which puts it into the top 20 pension funds of Holland. It has almost 5,000 pensioners.