Finnish pension insurance company Veritas warned in its interim results statement that if COVID-19 spikes again, this time around the impact on businesses would be even worse.

The Turku-based firm reported a loss on its investments of 4.2% for the first six months of this year, saying the only asset class in its portfolio to have ended the period with a positive result was real estate with a 2.6% gain.

This was despite the recovery of equity markets from their trough in March, it said.

Equities produced a 9.6% investment loss and the return on fixed income investments was 0.2% in the period, the firm reported.

Carl Pettersson, Veritas’ chief executive officer, said: “Once again, the number of coronavirus cases has started to rise and our fear is that it may have an even greater impact on businesses this time around. There may no longer be a sufficient capacity for flexibility and buffers.”

People were still having to wait several days to get tested for the virus, he said, adding that these delays made it increasingly difficult for companies to carry out their business.

“This type of delay is mentally difficult, but can also have a heavy financial impact. We absolutely need to focus on testing right now, as it will also help us to decrease the need for support packages in the future,” said Pettersson.

Despite the investment loss, Veritas reported its solvency ratio had strengthened to 122.4% at this year’s halfway point, up from 119.2% at the end of the first quarter.

Veritas – the smallest of Finland’s four pension insurance companies in the earnings-related pensions – said total assets stood at €3.5bn at the end of June, and that over the last five years its average return was 3.6%, and 5.1% over 10 years.

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