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Five largest Dutch schemes report stable funding in Q1

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The coverage ratio of the five largest pension funds in the Netherlands – with combined assets of €577bn - has remained stable during the first quarter, as a drop in the discount rate for liabilities largely nullified positive returns on investments.

The €309bn civil service scheme ABP and the €143bn healthcare fund PFZW reported results of 3.1% and 3.3% respectively, however, this included positive results on their hedge of interest and currency risks.

Investment results were positive for almost all asset classes across the funds.

ABP’s holdings in government bonds, credit and emerging markets bonds generated returns of 4%, 2.5% and 1.9% respectively, with equity and inflation-linked bonds both yielding 1.5%.

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The scheme’s stakes in property, private equity and commodities produced 4.3%, 2.9% and 1.2% respectively. Infrastructure and hedge funds delivered 3% and 1.4%, according to ABP, with its loss in emerging market equities (-0.7%) the only negative.

The civil service scheme saw its funding improve by 0.2% to 106.1%, which included the effect of reversing an earlier rights cut of 0.5%.

PFZW made a quarterly return of 3.3%, including 1.6 percentage points from interest and currency hedging. The scheme said its funding remained stable at 109%.

The healthcare scheme reported yields of 0.5%, 2.3% and 1.1% across its equity, private equity and property holdings.

With a result of 4.5%, government bonds were its best performing asset class.

PFZW said its index-linked bonds and credit portfolios generated 1.9% and 2.5% respectively, adding that a 1.1% yield on commodities was largely due to a price rise in the crude oil benchmark.

The €50bn metal scheme PMT returned 3.6% over the three months, chiefly thanks to a 5.7% result on its 59% fixed income portfolio, following the decrease of interest rates.

Its holdings of equity, property and alternatives produced profits of 0.4%, 1.4% and 0.3%, it said.

PMT saw its coverage ratio rise by 0.5 percentage point to 104.9%. However, as it had a funding shortfall of 0.4 percentage point at year-end, it must apply an equal rights cut on 1 May.

The metal fund further announced that its 2013 return only stood at 1%, attributing the result mainly to the effect of the increase of interest rates on its large fixed income portfolio.

During last quarter, the funding of PMEanother metal scheme, rose by 0.7 percentage point to 105%, following a 3.1% result, including 1.1 percentage points due to its interest cover.

PME’s assets increased by €2.1bn to €34.4bn, including €1.2bn of assets from the pension fund of copier manufacturer Océ, which merged with PME recently.

The metal fund made clear that it profited from the value increase of long-term government bonds, and added that credit and emerging markets bonds also returned more than 2%.

PME’s holdings of equity and property generated 0.6%, 0.5%, whereas its alternative investments delivered a 2.5% loss.

BpfBOUW, the €40bn pension fund for the building sector, did not reveal its quarterly returns. It said that its coverage rose by 2.8 percentage points to 114.2%.

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