Denmark’s Sampension has announced a 2020 investment return of DKK10.3bn (€1.38bn) after gains in the last two months of the year contrasted with steep losses earlier on – with the latter partly due to the nature of its equity portfolio structuring.

The Copenhagen-based labour-market pension provider reported that customers with mid-risk market-rate pensions saw returns of between 2.2% and 6.6% for the year depending on their age, while the return on average-rate pensions was 6.5%.

Hasse Jørgensen, chief executive officer of Sampension, said: “Our equity portfolio has been structured in a way that hit us in the short run as the stock markets plunged in the spring, yielding a very unsatisfactory return.”

Back in March, the return for market-rate customers had been as low as -17.2%, Sampension said in its preliminary investment returns announcement.

However, November and December had dealt investments “a big win,” Jørgensen said, with the pension fund reporting that Danish shares and private equity had performed the best during the year.

“It is satisfying that we succeeded in delivering a very nice return for the year despite the market turbulence,” Jørgensen said.

Sampension said its return on private equity was 21.1%, with listed equities returning 8.1%, bonds generating a return of 1.1% and alternatives producing 0.6% in 2020.

Jørgensen said that because it was working to produce high, long-term risk-adjusted returns, it had a somewhat cautious and structured investment strategy.

“We maintained that course in 2020, and we expect it to be an advantage in 2021,” he said.

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