FINLAND - Finnish pension provider Eläke-Fennia returned 3.6% in the first quarter of this year and its equities holding returned 10.1%, driven by Finnish and other Nordic markets.

The first three months of the year compare well to last year when Fennia returned -0.2% on investments.

Lasse Heniö, CEO, said the performance at the start of the year held up well against historic comparisons, and said the losses created by the financial crisis have now been recovered.

The positive performance also enhanced Eläke-Fennia's solvency levels which at the end of March reached 19.1% - equivalent to 2.8 times the minimum solvency requirements. Operating capital for Eläke-Fennia was €1.05bn at the end of this period.

However, Eeva Grannenfelt, CIO, said the economic development for 2010 continues to be marred by uncertainty which supports moderate risk level in the investment portfolio. She argued the result for the first quarter was excellent considering the limited risk in the portfolio.

Finnish pension insurers tend to be earliest to release their first-quarter results and the positive performance so far suggests many will have recovered the losses suffered during the credit crunch and economic crisis, and improved solvency levels since 2008.