UK – HSBC says balanced pooled pension funds in the UK increased in value by more than 10% in the three months to May 30 – with Baillie Gifford the best performing manager.

“Balanced pooled pension funds increased in value by over 10 per cent in the three months to 30 May, the first such increase since December 1999,” said HSBC Actuaries and Consultants Ltd.

It added that they were up 6.1% for the first five months of 2003. The results were part of its regular Image survey.

“Funds regained the losses suffered since the beginning of the year but the results still make sorry reading for pension scheme investors over the longer term.

“Despite the recent rally in equities, the average return achieved by investment managers over the 12 months to the end of May is still a negative 13.3%.”

Jonathan Fish, investment consultant at HSBC, said: “We feel that this is a start of better days for UK pension funds but may have to wait until September to see if this is the next phase of a bull market or a gain rally that could easily be snuffed out.”

HSBC said Baillie Gifford was the best performing manager since the beginning of the year with a return of 7.3%, while the worst performer over the same period was Allianz Dresdner with a return of 3.8%.

Over the longer term, JP Morgan Fleming’s Institutional Balanced Fund came top over the year (-9.6%) while UBS holds top place for the three year period (-4.3%).

The best performing fund over five years was managed by Royal London with a small positive return (+0.1%). Glasgow Fund Managers hold the bottom position for the one, three and five year periods.