DENMARK - PensionDanmark has reported a positive net return of 0.2% in the first quarter of 2009, as the value of its premiums increased to DKK2.6bn (€349.3m).

Latest figures from the pension fund showed despite continued turbulence in the financial markets, PensionDanmark saw the value of its assets rise 2% from DKK71.9bn at the end of March 2008 to DKK73.3bn a year later.

The organisation revealed the value of premiums paid to the scheme also increased 5% year-on-year, from DKK2.5bn at the end of the first quarter in 2008 to DKK2.6bn by 31 March 2009.

However, it confirmed the growth was driven by increases in the agreed contribution rates, as the number of active members fell by more than 5% because of the "negative economic situation", and the construction sector in particular reported "significantly fewer active members".

By the end of the first quarter, the pension fund revealed the total number of members was nearly 572,000, of which around 277,000 are active members and 21,000 are pensioners.

The net return for the quarter after tax was 0.2%, as PensionDanmark said the continuing decline in the prices of certain European and US shares was offset by positive returns in the commercial, government and mortgage bonds sector.

That said, the organisation added since the end of the first quarter the stock markets had staged a recovery resulting in an improvement in the overall return, with PensionDanmark suggesting by the middle of May it had achieved a return of 3.1% after tax.

This is a significant improvement from its performance in 2008, when it reported it had lost 10% in the 10 months to November following the turbulence in the equity markets, while in December it announced it would cap interest rates at 2.5% in 2009 to help market stability. (See earlier IPE articles: PensionDanmark loses 6.8% in nine months and Danish pensions cut interest rates to 2.5%)

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