Denmark’s Industriens Pension reported a 2,500 increase in the number of active members of its pension scheme between January and June this year, reversing a period of decline, as employment in the industrial sector grew.

Laila Mortensen, chief executive at the labour-market pension scheme, said: “The increase is a result of the positive development in employment in Danish industry.”

The number of contributing scheme members rose to 160,976 at the end of June from 158,591 the same time the year before, according to the scheme’s interim report.

Many jobs in the industrial sector covered by Industriens had previously been cut, Mortensen said.

“Because of that, the number of active members in the pension scheme had fallen very significantly, but now employment and membership numbers are on their way up again, and, of course, we are very pleased about that,” she said.

This development helped push the fund’s profit higher, Industriens said.

As previously reported, Industriens said its overall pre-tax return for the the first half rose to 6.6%, with Danish equities producing a 20% return at the six-month period.

The pension fund said its holdings in Danish shares were worth DKK9.9bn (€1.3bn) at the end of June. 

Assets under management rose by DKK8bn since the end of December to DKK136bn at the end of June.

Meanwhile, Finnish pensions insurance company Ilmarinen posted a return of 3.4% in the first half of this year, up from 3% a year earlier, but witnessed a decline in the number of people insured.

In absolute terms, Ilmarinen’s return for January to June was €1.1bn, up from €892m in the same period last year, the firm said in its interim report.

It said the number of earnings-related pension insurance policies increased over the period, but the number of insured private customers fell.

Ilmarinen said: “This resulted from a weakening in employment due to the recession.”

At the end of June, the total number of people insured with Ilmarinen fell by 10,000 since the end of December, to 560,000.

Pension recipients, however, continued to rise steadily during the six-month period, growing to 316,000 at the end of June from 310,000 at the end of 2013.

Harri Sailas, president and chief executive at Ilmarinen, said: “The increase in life expectancy and the ageing of the population will also have an obvious effect on the number of pensioners insured with Ilmarinen in the near future.”

This growth seems to be continuing at around 2% a year, he said.

Pension assets rose to €33.5bn at the end of June from €32.5bn at the end of December.

Within investments, equities generated 5.5%, up from 6.3%, fixed income produced 2.2% compared with 1.6%, while the return for direct real estate investments was the same as the year before at 2.4%.

Solvency grew to 29% at the end of June from 24.3% a year before.