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Pension assets go on growing

Pension fund assets in Europe continue to grow in spite of the downturn in global financial markets. IPE’s annual survey of Europe’s leading pension funds shows that the top 1000 funds now account for E2.3trn in assets, up from E2.1trn last year. A total of 47 of the top 100 pension funds report a rise in assets.
ABP, the giant Dutch pension fund for civil servants continues to head the list. The other leading Dutch fund, PGGM, has slipped from third to fourth place. Its place has been taken by the Norwegian State Oil Fund, which moved up from fourth place.
New entrants to the top 20 funds include the Swiss fund Migros Genossenschafts-Bund which moves up from 23 to 15. ITP, the Swedish public authority pension plan, which was not included in last year’s listing, comes in at fifth place with assets of E34,496m. Artsenpensioensfondsen (SBS) in the Netherlands has lost its place in the top 20, falling to 21.
Some of the largest funds report a drop in assets, reflecting the falls on the financial markets. ABP assets have fallen from E149,747m in 2001 to E147,303m while PGGM’s assets have fallen from E52,184m to E49,122m.
Among the top 20 funds, the ATP and PFA funds in Denmark, the Pensionskasse des Bundes (PKB) in Switzerland, the Philips, Metaalindustrie and Shell funds in the Netherlands, and the Siemens Pensions Trust in Germany all reported falls, while AMF in Sweden, BVV in Germany, Folketygfondet in Norway, the AVS social security fund, Kanton of Zurich (BVK) and Novartis funds in Switzerland, and the Bouwinjeverheid fund in the Netherlands, show an increase in assets.
Pension reserve funds report substantial increases. Norway’s State Oil Fund almost doubled assets from E48,953m to E83,661, while Portugal’s FEFSS/IGFCSS pension reserve funds increased assets from E3,800m to E4,200m.
Some increases are due to exceptional factors. Almanna Pensionsfonden (AP Funds), the buffer funds of Sweden’s pay-as-you-go system, report a doubling of assets to E136,000m, reflecting the restructuring and refinancing of the funds in 2001.
The data for the survey was drawn mainly from International Pension Funds and their Advisors (IPFA) published by Aspire Publications, which lists over 3,500 major international pension funds.

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