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Super funds deliver worst return in 20 years

Friday 31st January 2003

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Superannuation funds lost 10% in calendar year 2002, slashing an estimated $2 billion value off the total amount of accumulated retirement savings of New Zealanders in superannuation funds. It was the worst recorded in more than a decade.

"Over the past three calendar years the median return was -1.3% pa, the poorest three-year return to December in the past 20 years and the only time a negative result has been recorded over such a period," Mercer Investment Consulting executive director Louis Boulanger said.

Mercer survey results showed that despite the lacklustre performance of global markets, the New Zealand sharemarket performed relatively well, with the gross benchmark index returning 0.9% over the past 12 months.

Property returns for the 2002 calendar year were 9.9% and fixed interest investment returned 8.7% domestically, and 12.1% globally if foreign currency exposures were fully hedged back to the New Zealand dollar.

Mercer survey results showed Arcus Investment Management achieved the highest return for the final quarter of 2002 with 4.4% return.

Mr Boulanger said Arcus' success was attributed to hedging its fund's exposure to the pound and the US dollar.

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