BELGIUM - Belgian pension funds returned a healthy 8.4% in 2004, compared to 9.6% in 2003, according to provisional estimates released by Mercer Investment Consulting.
Pension funds posted a return of 4% in the fourth quarter of 2004, with equities returning 5.7% and bonds returning 2.3%.
Willy Santermans (pictured), chief actuary at Mercer Belgium said that the good returns in 2004 were on the back of strong equity gains: returns from equities were at 10.3% in 2004, while bonds yielded 6.7% during the year.
The strongest performance was from Belgian equities which returned 37.3%, followed by Euro equities which returned 15.1% and Pacific (ex Japan) equities which posted a return of 13.9%. US equities were the worst performing, returning only 2.2% during the year.
Among bonds, Belgian and Euro bonds returned 7%, while US bonds returned -5.1%.
Asset allocation among pension funds remained largely unchanged from the previous year, with total equities at 50.5% as at 30 September, 2004 compared to 51.2% at 31 December 2003. Allocation to bonds was at 39.1% in 2004, compared to 41% in 2003.
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