Blue-collar pension fund PensionDanmark has announced single-digit negative returns for 2022, but said they are still the best results among peers, and that its particularly active equities and interest-rate management had staved off bigger losses.

The Copenhagen-based pension fund reported investment losses of 6.5% and 4.3% for scheme members under 46 and those aged 67, respectively, for 2022.

The pension fund – which had total assets of DKK327bn (€44bn) at the end of 2021 – said in today’s statement: “The result is the best in the industry, and seen over the past five years, the average returns are a nice plus of 4% to 6%.”

A spokesman for PensionDanmark said the basis for the sector comparison it referred to was a ranking of returns of Danish pension funds compiled by independent adviser Nikolaj Holdt Mikkelsen.

In the results announcement, the pension fund said that last year would go down in world history.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered war in Europe and became the catalyst for several simultaneous crises that characterised the financial markets throughout the year,” it said.

Torben Möger Pedersen, chief executive officer of PensionDanmark, said: “Single years with negative returns are a condition when investing.

“It’s never nice, but we are happy that with a long-term and dedicated investment strategy we have been able to limit the losses for our members, so that they continue to have good multi-year returns on their pensions.”

The pension fund said the “controlled downsides” had been due to a successful investment strategy, where it had had “very active” management of the portfolio’s equity share and interest-rate sensitivity.

“At the same time, a positive contributor to the return has been PensionDanmark having had a relatively high proportion of unlisted investments and a correspondingly lower proportion of listed shares,” the pension fund said.

This had benefited members, it said, since its listed shares fell by 13% in 2022, whereas its unlisted infrastructure investments in particular had performed well over the year, rising 21% in value.

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