Finland’s Veritas has reconsiderd its exposure to China and all but pulled out of the country, while also reducing risk over the first six months of the year in anticipation of market turmoil caused by Greek bailout negotiations.
The Finnish pensions insurer said it returned 5.8% in the first six months to June, up from 4.6% in the first half of last year. Listed shares were the highest performing assets in the period, generating a 13.3% return, compared with 6.7% in the same phase of last year, according to the interim report.
Niina Bergring, investment director at Veritas, said: “We have anticipated the problems in China and Greece and reduced our risk level during the spring.”
China in particular was causing headaches, having proved disappointing compared to expectations at the beginning of the year, she said.
“The Chinese economy is not on a sound basis, and there are big risks, even though the state still has some ability to control the economy,” she said.
For this reason, Veritas had almost completely pulled out of China, she said.
She said it was particularly important in these times when markets were so uncertain to think long-term and focus on achieving a stable return.
Real estate returned 5.0% in the period, up from 3.0% in the first half of last year, with direct investments outpacing fund investments, with returns of 5.4% and 2.0% respectively.
Fixed income investments generated a return of 1.1% in the first half, down from 4.2% in the same period last year.
The very good yield on fixed income investments seen in the first quarter had now been evened out, she said.
“The market turbulence of recent weeks has shown that diversification is the alpha and omega when it comes to managing an investment portfolio for a pensions company,” Bergring said.
Veritas’ total investment assets grew to €2.76bn at the end of June from €2.60bn at the end of December last year