Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Co., Helsinki, posted a 8.8% return on its investments for the nine months ended Sept. 30, boosted by positive equity returns.
An update Friday said the Finnish pension company's gain equaled €3.9 billion ($4.3 billion), with total assets increasing 7.7% to €47.4 billion.
"It has been a good year on the investment markets. From the perspective of a pension investor, the past 10 years have been an exceptionally long period of upward momentum, which has substantially increased the pension assets of Finns," Risto Murto, CEO and president, said in a news release Friday.
The highest return by asset class was in listed equity, which gained 18% for the nine months — thanks to U.S. equity — vs. 5.5% for the same period in 2018. The allocation to listed equity investments stood at €16.5 billion.
The €12.7 billion bond allocation returned 4.2% for the period, compared with a loss of 1.2% for the nine months of 2018.
Private equity added 11.9% and stood at €4.9 billion; for the year earlier period, the return was 12.2%.
Real estate, at €4 billion, gained 2.6% in nine months compared with 4% for the same period in 2018. The hedge fund allocation added 3.6% with assets of €9 billion, down slightly from 4.9% a year earlier.
"Although uncertainty surrounding economic growth and the political environment has increased, the development of equities, considered a risky asset class, has been favorable, and the investment market has been calm. The central banks have introduced measures in a bid to boost slowing economic growth through monetary policy," added Varma CIO Reima Rytsola in the release.