The Finnish State Pension Fund (VER) has seen its equity returns boosted by US stocks and emerging markets, despite continued market uncertainty.
While solid returns from the two regions leading to VER’s equity portfolio returning nearly 10% over the first nine months of the year, managing director Timo Löyttyniemi nonetheless warned that there was still “no relief” for investors concerned about the low growth prospect in Europe.
“VER’s return on investments, however, was good in all asset classes,” he added. “In the future, the general low interest rates will present challenges for the returns on fixed-income investments”
The €17.4bn scheme, which helps pre-fund Finland’s state pension obligations, saw its equity portfolio outperform both other asset categories.
Its fixed income holdings returned 4.4%, a noticeable improvement from the -1.7% return seen over the first three quarters of 2013.
Its portfolio of other investments – consisting private credit, infrastructure, real estate and private equity – returned 5% over the first nine months, also an improvement over the portfolio’s performance during the same period last year, but behind the overall 2013 return.
While VER’s equity portfolio performed strongest of all three asset categories, returning 9.8%, it also lagged behind 2013’s comparative returns of 12.8%, with a significant rally in the equity market late last year even boosting returns above 18%.
Overall, the fund returned 6.5% for the first nine months of the year, ahead of its 10-year average of 5.8%.