NETHERLANDS – PGGM, the Netherlands' second largest pension fund, has reported positive returns of 3.8% for the fourth quarter of 2002, up from –7.3% in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the fund achieved positive returns in every asset class except private equity, which lost 7.9%. Equities returned +5.5%, fixed income returned +2.2%, commodities +3.8% and real estate +1.9%.

For the whole of 2002, PGGM’s returns dropped to -6.9%, “due primarily to the falls on the international equities markets,” says PGGM – although it says it still outperformed its benchmark by +0.8%. At the end of the year period, equities had returned –22.8%, fixed interest securities +9.5%, commodities +35.5%, real estate +9.1% and private equity –16.6%. Strong performance from commodities was attributed to the sharp rise in oil prices.

The total return over the last five years has been +5.1% per annum, and average returns on the portfolio over the last 10 years has been +8.7%. Since 1970, the long-term average return has been 8.6%.

At the end of 2002, holdings by PGGM were as follows; 20.6 billion euros in equities; 13.7 billion euros in fixed interest; 1.8 billion euros in commodities, 6.8 billion euros in real estate; and 2.4 billion euros in private equity, giving a total of 45.3 billion euros.

PGGM is the pension fund for the Dutch healthcare and social work sector.