FINLAND - Valtion Eläkerahasto (VER), the Finnish State Pension Fund, has welcomed the €750bn stabilisation package for the EU region, after reporting a first quarter return of 5.3%.

First quarter figures from the pension fund showed the total value of its assets increased by almost €3bn on a year-on-year basis, from €10.2bn at the end of March 2009 to €13bn in 2010.

The overall return for the three months was 5.3%, compared to -2.4% in the same period in 2009, with quoted equities producing the best return of 9.6%, after its allocation increased by more than 10 percentage points over the year from 29.9% to 40.8%.

Despite a reduction in the fixed income portfolio from 63.7% of the scheme to 54.8%, these investments also performed well with a return of 2.4%, while the 4.4% allocation to other investments returned 1.2%

Shortly after reporting the results, Timo Löyttyniemi, managing director of VER, said the investment activities in the first quarter had proven to be a success, with the stock markets rising particularly strongly in March, but also warned that "the difficulties experienced by some of the euro-zone countries have led to increased uncertainty in the fixed income and stock markets."

However, following news of the EU financial package agreed over the weekend between EU finance ministers, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund, Löyttyniemi said: "We welcome the decisive actions by EU and ECB. The decisions came at the right moment and has given the markets confidence."

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