Denmark’s Industriens Pension has said all its asset classes made positive returns over the third quarter, bringing the return for the first nine months of the year to 5.6%, or DKK7.7bn (€1.04bn), doubling the gains made in the first two quarters of 2016.
Laila Mortensen, the pension fund’s chief executive, said: “After the British voted themselves out of the EU on 23 June, we were worried about how the financial markets would react.”
But, seen in that light, the pension fund was very pleased it managed to increase returns for all asset classes and doubled the year-to-date return to 5.6%, she said.
In January to September 2015, the DKK146.4bn labour-market pension fund for industrial sector workers made a 3.8% return before tax.
For the first half of this year alone, Industriens reported a 2.7% return on investments before pensions tax.
Apart from Brexit-related speculation in the third quarter, financial markets were also marked by concerns about economic growth in general, the pension fund said.
But strong liquidity support from central banks and a stabilisation of oil prices provided support to the markets, it said.
Industriens said accommodative monetary policy and falling interest rates had shown through particularly in the form of high returns in the pension fund’s nearly DKK35bn portfolio of corporate bonds.
Traditional government and mortgage bonds also did well over the period.
Mortensen said the fund was in a situation where the assets that had produced the most this year were opposite of those that had returned well last year.
“This year, it has been the different types of bond that have really pushed the return up, while it was equities in particular that did this last year,” she said.
Mortensen said this showed how important it was to have the right spread and composition of investments in an unpredictable market.
Corporate bonds produced a return of 10.4% in the nine-month period, having made a 1.8% loss in January to September 2015.
Non-listed investments, which make up DKK35.9bn of the pension fund’s investment portfolio, produced a return of 3.9%, down from 13% in the same period last year.
Foreign equities, which account for DKK29.7bn of the portfolio, returned 2%, up from a 0.8% loss in the comparable year-earlier period.