Spanish pension funds have achieved average returns on their investment portfolios of 6.8% for calendar year 2014, according to preliminary figures from Mercer.

This takes their average cumulative returns for the three years to 31 December 2014 to 8.4% per annum, and 5% per annum for the five years to the same date.

The figures, from Mercer’s Pension Investment Performance Service (PIPS), are based on a significant sample of the biggest occupational pension funds and pension fund managers in Spain, and include estimated returns for December 2014.

They are also broken down between three asset classes – fixed income, euro-zone equities and non-euro-zone equities.

The biggest return over 2014 in terms of asset class – 22.1% – came from non-euro-zone equities.

Mercer said there were two factors behind this: the increase in valuations in non-euro-zone stock markets, and appreciation in non-euro currencies, especially the US dollar.

Non-euro-zone equities also returned an estimated 1.4% during December for the funds in the survey.

In contrast, euro-zone equities were the asset class that performed most poorly, with a return for the year of only 4.9%, including a loss of 3% in December.

This helped drag down the average estimated return over all asset classes to -0.04% in December.

Meanwhile, the fixed income return during December was 0.5%, and 9.2% for the whole of 2014.

Mercer said the return was buoyed by the fall in interest rates in the euro-zone, and by more favourable sentiment towards Spanish fixed income, which has benefited from a further reduction in the risk premium.

Mercer has been compiling the PIPS survey since 1997.