MPF schemes in welcome rebound

Pension schemes for Hong Kong’s 2.5 million working people returned to profit in 2012 with a three-year-high average return of 12.07 percent, according to data provider Lipper.

Mandatory provident funds had suffered a loss of 8.4 percent in 2011 after a profit of 7.18 percent a year earlier.

All Hong Kong funds yielded a 22.94-percent gain on average last year. But many are actively managed funds, so many managers did not show up well as the average performance compared with a 23-percent rise in the Hang Seng Index.

Still, Hong Kong equity funds were solid in regional terms.

Asia-Pacific funds that exclude Japan averaged returns of 19.84 percent.

In December, Chinese equities were best for pension funds with a 5.78-percent yield.

The Shanghai Composite Index rose by about 12 percent month on month in December.

The new leadership taking shape in the mainland also lifted Chinese securities, Lipper noted.

Gains of Japanese equity funds, meanwhile, stood at 5.44 percent while those in Hong Kong returned only 3.14 percent.

All bond-based funds saw negative returns last month, at 0.13 percent on average. Over 2012, however, bond funds made a profit of 4.27 percent.

Convoy Investment researchers, meanwhile, pointed to the easing of the euro debt crisis and a rebound in the Chinese economy as a boost for equity funds, especially in Hong Kong.

Kenrick Chung Kin-keung, MPF development director at Convoy, suggested scheme members should invest some gains in funds that are not so open to market fluctuations.