UK – Balanced pooled pension funds returned 11.4% in the second quarter of 2003, with Glasgow Investment Managers the best performing fund manager – according to HSBC.

A survey by HSBC Actuaries and Consultants shows a continued growth in performance of balanced pooled pension funds in the first half of 2003. The median since the start of the year has increased by nearly seven percent, with the last three months having seen the majority of the growth with a quarterly median return of 11.4%. Returns over the last 12 months, however, are still negative with a median return of –6.4%.

Although the worst performer over the one-year, two-year and five-year periods, Glasgow Investment Managers produced the highest returns over the second quarter with 16.4%. Also in the top five performers were UBS, HSBC Asset Management, Tilney and Merrill Lynch.

Over the last 12 months J P Morgan Fleming Asset Management and Newton have performed best with returns of –1.6% and –1.7% respectively. J P Morgan Fleming is also in the top two in terms of performance over the last two years.

Worst performers over the last quarter were Allianz Dresdner with 7.7% returns, followed by Bank of Ireland, Royal and Sun Alliance, Royal Life and ISIS Asset Management.

Commenting on the performance, David Lyons, associate consultant at HSBC Actuaries and Consultants, said: “Equities have been the winning investment over the second quarter of the year and those managers who were underweight in equities have been ruthlessly punished.

“Manager style over the last three months has also been an important factor. The fall seen in the UK equity market in the first quarter of the year was broadly based, whereas the strong bounce back seen over the second quarter was concentrated in medium and smaller companies, as opposed to FTSE 100 stocks.

“This type of recovery has favoured managers with a small and mid cap bias. Pension scheme trustees cannot be complacent and the focus will now shift to whether gains can be held.”

HSBC’s IMAGE survey provides performance statistics using capital growth and contribution payments on a monthly basis for 38 discretionary balanced pooled pension funds and four consensus funds.