ITALY - Thirteen of the 22 investment lines offered as pensions investments by PensPlan achieved positive returns in what officials describe as conditions which were “difficult to register positive results”.

In all, 16 of the pension and severance fund (TFR) provider’s 22 funds beat their respective benchmarks and five were said to have performed within the top three within their pension fund sectors.

More specifically, PensPlan Invest SGR’s share capital yielded 6.87% while among the severance pay funds the Parcheggio TFR rose 4.38% year-on-year, and the managed balance line A of PensPlan Profi was up almost 4% against a benchmark average loss of 14%.

“2008 was a difficult year for pension funds: the sharp drop in stock prices and the overall uncertainty on the markets made it difficult to register positive results,” said PensPlan.

“As a result, pension funds with more speculative invesgment portfolios suffered significant losses. Contrary to this development, the results yielded by PensPlan Invest SGR-managed pension funds and investment portfolios were nothing short of outstanding,” claimed the firm.

Indeed, its more speculative investment lines do appear to have struggled though officials state the PensPlan Plurifonds Summitas line - which has at least 50% of its fund in equities - lost 20% compared with the benchmark return of -38.58%.

And its Fondo Raiffeisen Safe line, managed externally by Landesbank Raiffeisen for PensPlan, grew 8.13%.

PensPlan, based in the semi-autonomous Trentino Alto Adige region in northern Italy, has been pushing to become one of the biggest and best-performing pension providers in Italy, and has recently signed a deal outsourcing some €100m of its investment management to APG, the asset management arm of Dutch industry-wide pension fund ABP. (See earlier IPE story: APG Group signs cross-border deal with PensPlan)