Denmark’s supplementary labour-market pension fund ATP produced a 12% return on investments in the first half of the year, with growth driven by a buoyant domestic stock market.

ATP’s chief executive Carsten Stendevad said: “The yield was especially high on shares, property and infrastructure in a half-year which was characterised by extreme interest rate fluctuations.”

In its interim report for January to June 2015, the pension fund said the return on investment before tax and expenses was DKK11.5bn (€1.5bn) in absolute terms.

Among the five risk classes that comprise ATP’s DKK100bn investment portfolio, three — credit, equities and inflation — saw a positive return, while interest rates and commodities ended the period with a loss.

Equities generated a DKK7.0bn return, DKK5.1bn of which came from listed Danish equities, equating to a 31.1% return.

“The return was achieved broadly across the portfolio, but was driven, in particular, by holdings in Genmab A/S and Novo Nordisk A/S,” ATP said in the report.

Shares in biotechnology company Genmab rose 56% over the first six months of the year, while pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk saw its share price appreciate by over 38%. 

ATP’s investment portfolio only accounts for around 20% of its total assets, as the lion’s share of assets is invested in a hedging portfolio meant to underpin the yield guarantees it offers its members.

ATP saw total assets shrink to DKK691bn by the end of the reporting period from DKK704bn at the end of December.

However, assets had grown compared to the same point last year, when they had totalled DKK641bn.

The bonus potential — the sum used in the investment portfolio — grew to DKK100.5bn at the end of June from DKK95.8bn at the end of December.

The hedging portfolio made a loss after tax of DKK20.0bn in the first half of the year.

The pension liabilities the portfolio is designed to protect decreased by DKK18.6bn over the same period as interest rates increased, putting the net loss arising from hedging activities that had to be absorbed at DKK1.4bn.

But ATP described this difference as satisfactory since it amounted to less than a quarter of a percent of the guaranteed benefits of DKK590.2bn.

The pension fund said it updated its life expectancy projection as part of the first-half accounting.

“The increase in Danish life expectancy observed was higher than expected in the past year,” it said.

The rise in projected lifespans for ATP’s members in 2015 was two and half months for women and three months for men, it said.

This led to ATP increasing provisions for future pensions by DKK3.7bn, which equated to 0.6% of guaranteed benefits, it said.