Italy’s biggest private sector pension fund made a net return of 4.1% on its investment portfolio in 2017, according to its annual report.

ENPAM, which caters for Italy’s general practitioners, reported that its portfolio was worth €20.9bn at the end of 2017.

Real estate holdings formed more than a quarter (26%) of the portfolio. During 2017 year, direct real estate made a 4.1% net return, while indirectly-held properties returned 3.9% net.

ENPAM has for some time had an explicit strategy of investing in the local economy, and last year launched a portfolio with a strategic bias towards Italian assets. Its aim is to build a portfolio of small direct holdings in seven to 10 Italian companies.

At the time, Alberto Oliveti, president of ENPAM, said that the pension fund wanted to act as a focus for shareholder coalitions on environmental, social and corporate governance issues with other large pension funds that own shares in the same companies. 

Oliveti said: “We are not only interested in the dividends; we want to vote in a conscious and informed manner and gather consensus around our proposals from those with the same objectives of sustainable growth over the years.”

Currently worth around €500m, with a target size of €1bn, the “portafoglio strategico Italia” includes holdings in energy companies Enel Green Power and Eni, and Banca d’Italia.

In April this year, the portfolio acquired a 1.03% stake in Banco BPM, the group created 18 months ago by the merger of Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano.

An ENPAM spokesman said: “After two investments in the energy sector, a further acquisition in the financial sector serves both to rebalance the overall portfolio risk, and to position ENPAM in the third-largest Italian banking group, which invests in the real economy of the country.”