NETHERLANDS - Pensioenfonds Metaal en Techniek, the scheme for Dutch metalworkers and mechanical engineers, sees an “only moderate” 2005 – despite returning 11.5% in 2004.

The Rijswijk-based scheme – the third largest in the Netherlands at E23bn – called it “an excellent overall investment return”. The result took its coverage ratio to 114 % at the end of 2004.

“Last year’s return shows that PMT’s long standing policy of holding very broadly diversified investments is rewarding,” said Theo Jeurissen, director of investments.

“On top of this the fully hedged dollar contributed to the double digit return. But we also realise that because of the results of the last two years, probably the 2005 return will be only moderate.”

The comments echo remarks last week from ABP investment chief Jean Frijns, who said: “The future is still not bright”.

PMT said the foundation of its 2004 return was laid in the first quarter of 2004, “when stock markets showed considerable exchange rate rises”.

“Although in the second quarter returns slightly decreased due to relatively negative returns on shares and fixed income investments, the third quarter again yielded positive returns. In the last quarter of 2004 returns on nearly all investment categories improved.”

The fourth quarter of 2004 saw assets under management rise by E1bn to more than E23.1bn.

PMT looks after the interests of over 340,000 active employees and over 31,000 employers and is the largest scheme in the private sector.

PMT returned 12.3% in 2003.