Pension Protection Fund was named European Pension Fund of the Year at tonight’s IPE Awards 2021 dinner in Madrid.

The UK-based lifeboat fund – which has also bagged the Bronze Fixed Income and the Gold Long-Term Investment Strategy awards – has seen its reserves reach £9bn (€10.7bn) this year, up from the £5.1bn recorded last year.

The PPF, which protects the financial futures of nearly 10 million people from more than 5,300 eligible UK defined benefit (DB) pension schemes, has also this year reported its assets under management grew from £36bn in 2020 to £38bn in 2021 and its growth assets returned 17.6% (£3.7bn), its largest return on this investment portfolio to date.

“I’m extremely honoured and privileged to accept this award on behalf of the PPF, and our members,” said Barry Kenneth, CIO of the PPF, in a video message to those gathered in Madrid.

“There’s a lot of thought and analysis that goes into setting a business strategy and how we implement it.”

He expressed his particular thanks of the PPF board “who’ve been so supportive of me and what we’ve tried to build at the PPF over the last eight years”.

“I’m so excited and happy to receive this award on behalf of the PPF, so thank you all again.”

Denmark’s ATP was also a multiple winner, taking home awards for emerging markets, factor investing, pensions governance and administration, alternatives, credit & alternatives, equities, Silver Public Pension Fund and Gold Pension Fund Leader/Team of the Year.

Just last month ATP announced strong investment returns and record results over the past three years, meaning that Denmark’s biggest pension fund, was able to increase the pensions of all its members by DKK30bn (€4bn). The increase is the largest in ATP’s history and provides all its members – which stand at more than 5 million – a lifelong and noticeably larger pension.

In Spain, GM Pensiones was the country’s winner, as it also scooped the award for DC & Hybrid Strategies.

Karch awards 2021

Heribert Karch receiving his Outstanding Industry Contribution award.

Heribert Karch received the Outstanding Industry Contribution award. Karch is MetallRente’s current managing director and will retire  at the end of the year after 20 years with the company. A veteran of the German and European pension fund industry, he has also chaired the occupational pensions association Aba.

And the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Bjarne Graven Larsen. The pioneering former CIO of ATP and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is the founder and CEO of Qblue Balanced, a Copenhagen-based asset manager, and he has also served as chair of NIO (Nordic Investment Opportunities) and as a board member for Topdanmark.

Gold Awards 
European Pension Fund of the Year Pension Protection Fund
Outstanding Industry Contribution Heribert Karch
Pension Fund Leader/Team of the Year ATP
Lifetime Achievement Award Bjarne Graven Larsen
Long-Term Investment Strategy Pension Protection Fund 
Commitment to Diversity Fjärde AP-fonden (AP4)
Silver Awards  
Active Management DuPont Pension Plan and Fjärde AP-fonden (AP4) 
Passive Management  Enagás 
Corporate Pension Fund Bosch Pensionsfonds AG
Multi-Employer/Professional Pension Fund PFZW
Public Pension Fund ATP
Small Pension Fund MAP Fund
Bronze Awards  
Alternatives ATP
Equities ATP 
Fixed Income Pension Protection Fund 
  Themed Awards 
Climate Related Risk Management Brunel Pension Partnership
Commodities APG
Credit & Alternatives ATP
DC & Hybrid Strategies GM Pensiones
Emerging Markets ATP 
ESG RPMI Railpen 
Factor Investing ATP 
Impact Investing Church Commissioners for England
Innovation Brunel Pension Partnership
Pensions Governance & Administration ATP 
Portfolio Construction & Diversification Brunel Pension Partnership
Real Assets & Infrastructure APG Asset Management
Real Estate Ärzteversorgung Westfalen-Lippe
Risk Management Amonis OFP
 Country/Regionasl Awards 
Austria VBV Group 
Belgium Pensioenfonds KBC
Central & Eastern Europe Swedbank Pension Plan
Denmark PensionDanmark
France ERAFP 
Germany Bosch Pensionsfonds AG 
Ireland Accenture Defined Contribution Pension Plan 
Italy Fondo Pensione Nazionale BCC/CRA
Netherlands PFZW 
Portugal Ageas Pensões and Fundo Pensões Banco Santander Totta 
Small Countries Almenni Pension Fund
Spain GM Pensiones
Sweden Fjärde AP-fonden (AP4)
Switzerland Pensionskasse Bosch Schweiz 
United Kingdom BTPS 

The 2021 IPE Awards attracted more than 330 entries across 44 categories representing 23 countries, with participating investors managing €2.3trn in assets. More than 80 judges were involved in assessing entries, each bringing specialist expertise or knowledge in a particular category.

More than 300 senior pension fund executives attended the IPE Conference and Awards 2021 from across Europe. Video recording of the event can be viewed here.

Find out about all the winners in our dedicated Awards Supplement.