TURKEY - Anadolu Hayat ve Emeklilik, Turkey’s largest pension fund in terms of assets under management, has launched a fund investing in companies active in BRIC countries.

The fund is the first of its kind in the Turkish private pensions industry, where the majority of the over 130 investment funds are still invested in domestic bonds.

Mete Ugurlu, general manager of Anadolu Hayat ve Emeklilik, which currently manages total assets of TRY2.57bn (€1.27bn), said the new fund will contribute to the maturation of the local private pension landscape.

Ugurlu explained the fund launch was due to the growing importance of BRIC countries. “Brazil, Russia, India and China make up some 40% of the world population today. The BRIC fund we launched will invest in companies active in these four gigantic countries and make use of the growth opportunities in their equity markets.

“I believe the new fund will suit especially investors with high return expectations,” he added.

Recently, Anadolu Hayat ve Emeklilik also launched an interest-free investment fund directed at pension savers with an Islamic approach on portfolio management. The fund is expected to open for investments in January 2011.

Further diversification of investment alternatives is on the cards. “In 2011, we will introduce further new fund alternatives to our portfolio and thus contribute to the diversification of the sector,” Ugurlu added.

Over the first 11 months of 2010, Anadolu Hayat’s funds yielded a return of 10.2%. Over the same time period, the number of participants in Anadolu Hayat’s funds grew by 15% and now totals 501,860 - approximately 22% of the 2.26m pension savers in Turkey. Over the last year, pension assets in Turkey have grown by nearly a third from TRY9.1bn to TRY11.8bn.

“We expect the total fund volume of the system, which experienced a slowdown in 2009 due to the financial crisis, to reach TRY12bn by the end of this year,” Ugurlu concluded.

According to the Capital Markets Board of Turkey (SPK) in August 2010, 63.1% of funds managed by Turkey’s 13 pension insurance companies are invested in T-Bills and government bonds. Reverse repo investments come second with 10.1% of all assets, followed by stocks (9.7%) and foreign securities (0.1%). Other investments make 17% of all portfolios.