Finland’s Veritas produced a 7.4% return on investments in 2013, but saw contributions fall by 1.2% as globalisation effects hit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
Reporting preliminary results for last year, Veritas said it was the positive trend in equity markets that boosted investment returns, particularly at the end of the year.
The 2013 investment return was helped by listed equities, which generated the pension insurer’s highest returns at 18.3%.
However, the overall return was down from last year, when investments ended the year with a profit of 11.3%.
Niina Bergring, CIO, said: “We are very pleased with the result, considering the market situation.”
Fixed income performance had lowered the overall result, she said, with the asset class ending with a return of just 1.5%.
Property investments, which the company said were traditionally strong within its portfolio, returned 5.9%.
Total contributions fell by 1.2% to €452.8m from €458.2m, while pensions and other benefits paid out rose 7.3% to €432m.
Veritas blamed the fall in contributions partly on payroll developments, with pension client numbers declining, and partly on the fact more corporate clients had failed this year to make their scheduled contributions.
Managing director Jan-Erik Stenman said he was not surprised by the slide in contributions.
“We are now seeing the aftermath of the general economic situation,” he said.
“In the course of 2013, the impact of globalisation hit our customers – small and medium-sized enterprises – which had hitherto perhaps fared better than large companies in the current economic situation.”
Over the year, Veritas lost 1.8% of employees as clients, or 53,339 workers.
Total investment assets rose to €2.4bn, up €170m from a year earlier.
Solvency capital increased during the year to end at 27.8% of technical provisions from 24.1% a year before, Veritas said, adding that this meant solvency capital was 2.1 times the solvency limit.