Jouko Pölönen, Ilmarinen’s chief executive, said the outlook for pension financing in Finland would be stable in upcoming decades, according to a long-term calculation concerning the sustainability of the pension system. The Finnish Centre for Pensions published its latest figures on pension sustainability last month.“The pension contribution can be kept below 25% up until the 2050s,” he said. “However, in the long term, a decline in the birth rate will cause significant pressure to raise the contribution, which we need to prepare for well in advance.”First-quarter gains hit 4.6%Ilmarinen’s investment assets grew to €47.4bn at the end of March, from €46bn at the end of December.The fund’s first-quarter return amounted to 4.6%, compared with a loss of 0.1% in Q1 2018.Equity investments generated a return of 8.8%, while fixed-income investments returned 2%. The long-term average nominal return was 5.7%, corresponding to a real annual return of 4.2%, Ilmarinen reported.The pension insurer’s solvency ratio strengthened by 1.1 percentage points to 124.8%, with solvency capital at €9.6m, compared with €8.9m at the end of 2018. Rising employment in Finland will support pension contribution volumes this year despite economic weakness, according to the country’s largest pension fund.However, Helsinki-based Ilmarinen warned that the country’s low birth rate meant preparations must be made for the long-term future for Finland’s pension system.Despite expected slower economic growth both in Finland and other industrialised countries compared to 2018, domestic employment and payroll were expected to continue to develop favourably, Ilmarinen said in its first-quarter report.“This will have a positive impact on pension providers’ premiums written in 2019,” the pension insurance firm said.
Arsene Wenger has revealed he has reassured England boss Roy Hodgson that Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will be fit and ready to go at this summer’s European Championship. The 24-year-old has not played for the Gunners this season having suffered a broken leg on the eve of the new campaign. Wilshere has endured a torrid time with injuries over the previous three years, with a number of ankle issues keeping him largely on the sidelines. But Wenger, speaking ahead of the Arsenal’s Barclays Premier League clash with Southampton on Tuesday night, played down suggestions Wilshere has suffered a setback in his recovery and has spoken to Hodgson about a player both managers admire greatly. “No. That is the wrong information,” Wenger replied when asked about a potential delay in Wilshere’s return. “He is looking good. I had a short chat with Roy Hodgson about him and reassured him that he is progressing well. I’m cautious but I will say (he will be back in) four weeks.” Even if Wilshere returns at the end of February, he faces an uphill challenge to be both fit and in-form in time for England’s opening Euro 2016 clash against Russia on June 11, with friendlies against Germany and Holland coming in March. His Arsenal and England colleague Danny Welbeck is in a similar position, as is Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge – but the trio are likely to be afforded as much time as possible to prove their fitness. Press Association