Veritas, the €2.7bn Finnish pensions insurer, made a 5.8% total return on investments in 2015, down from 6.4% the year before, according to preliminary results.At the end of October, the Finnish pension fund said it made a 2.4% total return on investments in the first nine months of the year, so returns appear to have accelerated in the last quarter of 2015. The pensions firm said market volatility intensified at the end of last year in liquid risk assets such as equities and corporate bonds.Niina Bergring, investment director, said: “Diversification became increasingly important, and its importance will increase further.” Bergring said real estate investments, which had traditionally performed well for the pension provider, produced good returns over the course of last year.“The Finnish real estate market really woke up in the last year, and there were a lot of transactions,” she said.The global economic cycle is approaching a mature phase and the market outlook characterised by uncertainty, she said.Bergring said the Chinese economy was continuing to cause concern, and that Veritas had taken a cautious position regarding this country.This stance has been advantageous, she said.“In 2016, we are striving for a steady return with a moderate risk profile,” she said.According to the preliminary annual figures, Veritas’s solvency capital stood at around 28%, with the solvency ratio at 2.2%For 2014, Veritas reported its solvency capital at 29.1% of technical provisions, and the ratio as 2.2%.
Tourists line up to climb Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia on Oct. 25. AAP IMAGE/LUKAS COCH/VIA REUTERS The closure wasannounced two years ago when fewer than 20 percent of the visitors were makingthe climb.(Reuters) Nearly 400,000visitors flocked to the Australian landmark in the year to end-June, governmentdata showed. YULARA –Hundreds of tourists clambered up Australia’s Uluru on Friday, the day before apermanent ban on climbing the sacred rock takes effect, following adecades-long fight by indigenous people to close the trek. The Anangupeople, the traditional owners of Uluru, have called for the climb to be closedsince 1985, when the park was returned to the indigenous control.