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Finland’s Varma Pension Insurance sees 5.1% gain for quarter

A logo sits in the window of the headquarter offices of Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Co. in Helsinki, Finland, on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.

Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Co., Helsinki, Finland, posted a 5.1% return on its investments for the quarter ended March.31.

The increase was attributed to the general market recovery, which offset the -0.4% dip from the previous quarter.

An update Tuesday said the Finnish pension company's gain equaled €2.2 billion ($2.4 billion) in the first quarter. Assets increased 4% to €45.8 billion from Jan. 1 and grew 0.4% year-over-year.

For the three months ended March. 31, the largest asset class return was in listed equity, which gained 13.1% for the quarter vs. -2.2% for the first quarter of 2018. The equity allocation stood at €15.2 billion.

The €13.3 billion bond allocation returned 1.9% for the quarter compared with -0.3% in the first quarter of 2018.

Private equity added 1% in the quarter and stood at €4.3 billion, compared with a 2.6% return in the same quarter a year earlier,

Real estate, at €3.9 billion, gained 0.7% in the quarter compared with 1.2% in the first quarter of 2018. The hedge fund allocation added 2% in the period with assets of €8.7 billion, up slightly from 1.9% a year earlier.

"This was the second-best quarter for Varma in the past 10 years. All asset classes generated positive returns. The positive return development was driven most of all by the strong equity market performance on a broad front, but fixed-income investments also generated good returns in spite of the zero-interest-rate environment," Reima Rytsola, chief investment officer of Varma, said in a news release.