Investments

ABP aims for a good and affordable pension for its participants, now and in the future. And we aim for a sustainable world in which to enjoy that pension. This is why we pay attention to returns, risks, costs and to how the companies we invest in deal with people, the environment and good governance (ESG – Environmental, Social and Governance).

ABP invests the pension contributions that participants and employers pay each month in various asset categories, such as real estate, equities and bonds. We do this because investing generates a higher return in the long term than saving. In the coming years, we expect an average return of around 4% per year. Of course, we do not invest haphazardly to achieve the highest possible return. Our investment professionals continually assess whether the risks we take counterbalance the expected return.

ABP aims for a diversified investment portfolio in terms of geographies, sectors and asset classes. In this manner, we can spread risks and prevent an adverse development in a particular geography, sector or asset class from affecting the entire portfolio. 

Every potential investment is assessed on four criteria: 

• Do they provide an attractive expected return?
• Is the risk acceptable?
• Are the costs not too high?
• Does the company operate in a sufficiently responsible and sustainable manner.

Our investment portfolio is the result of a meticulous investment process, whereby we call on expert professionals throughout the organization.

Also view the Investments Declaration.

ABP’s total invested assets amount to €465 billion (December 31, 2019). Over the past 20 years we have achieved an average return of over 7% on an annual basis. Due to structurally lower interest rates, we expect the average annual return to be around 4% in the coming years. 

Return on investments
2015 2,7%
2016 9,5%
2017 7,6%
2018 -2,3%

In our new policy on sustainable and responsible investing (2020-2025), we reestablish our goals as long-term investor and explain how we intend to achieve them. Our vision on a sustainable future looks toward 2050 and outlines our 2030 ambitions based on this vision. Our concrete goals for 2025 (for instance on carbon reduction in the equity portfolio and increased investments in the Sustainable Development Goals) are the first step on the way to achieving our long-term ambitions and vision - all built on the foundation of our 2015-2020 policy. 

You can view an English summary of our Sustainable and responsible investment policy here.

Focus on transitions

We see three major transitions in the coming years that we address with our policy. These transitions have a decisive impact on companies' ability to create long-term value and on the lives of our participants. These three major transitions are: 

  1. Addressing climate change and the need to transition to new energy generation and renewable energy sources; 
  2. Conservation of natural resources, including increasing scarcity of raw materials and food; 
  3. The digitalization of society, in which technology plays an increasingly important role.

Human rights and corporate governance

We regard corporate respect for human rights not only as a prerequisite for all our investments, but also as the precondition for these transitions to progress justly. Additionally, we see good corporate governance as fundamental. Without good governance, good business management, and a good relationship with shareholders, companies cannot successfully address the three transitions in a sustainable and responsible way.

ABP’s approach to corporate governance is set out in the ABP Corporate Governance Framework and the ABP Stewardship Policy. With our asset manager APG we have made arrangements to deal with conflicts of interests in relation to stewardship activities.

Excluded countries and companies

ABP does not invest in: 

  • Companies involved in the production of weapons that are banned by international treaties to which the Netherlands is party (cluster bombs, anti-personnel (land)mines and biological and chemical weapons). 
  • Producers of tobacco and (important components of) nuclear weapons 
  • Government bonds of countries on which the UN or EU has imposed a binding weapons embargo.

You can view the most recent exclusion list here

Responsible Investment Report

Detailed information on how we invest responsibly can be found in our annual Sustainable and Responsible Investment Report
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