The value of bond funds has increased in 2019

Statistics Monday 11 November 2019, 1:00 PM

The stock of Finnish investment funds’ fund shares rose steadily from EUR 99 bn in June 2016 to EUR 123 bn in July 2018. In August 2018, there was a turnaround in the growth of value, and the stock of fund shares declined by EUR 11 bn by the end of 2018. At the end of December 2018, the fund capital of the investment funds stood at EUR 112 bn.  Net redemptions by investors reduced the fund capital by EUR 3.8 bn, in addition to which the value of capital invested in the funds declined by EUR 7 bn, mainly due to weak equity market performance. The value of equity funds alone decreased by EUR 5.5 bn in 2018. The largest redemptions (EUR 2.7 bn) were made from bond funds.

In 2019, the capital invested in investment funds has grown to the level of summer 2018. In January–September 2019, fund capital grew by EUR 11.4 bn despite net redemptions of EUR 0.1 bn. Particularly due to positive market performance, the value of equity funds, bond funds rose and mixed funds rose, by EUR 7.5 bn, EUR 2.6 bn and EUR 1.2 bn, respectively. Fund capital increased the most in January 2019 reflecting a rise in the value of equity funds1. However, there have also been considerable redemptions from equity funds in 2019. In net terms, EUR 4 bn was redeemed from equity funds. In contrast, both bond funds and real estate funds had net subscriptions, worth EUR 5.3 bn and EUR 1.1 bn respectively. At the end of September 2019, a total of EUR 123.5 bn was invested in Finnish investment funds.

The development of market interest rates and entry into force of the Money Market Funds Regulation increased the fund capital of fixed-income funds

Bond funds are the most popular2 type of investment fund in Finland. Their fund capital totalled EUR 58.6 bn in September 2019. The largest investments were held by Finnish insurance companies3 (EUR 12.9 bn). However, the majority of insurance companies’ fund holdings consisted of households’ indirect holdings through various unit-linked insurance policies. In addition to indirect holdings, Finnish and Swedish households4 had significant direct holdings in bond funds (EUR 11.9 bn in total). All in all, as at September 2019, investments by Finns comprised 80% of capital invested in domestic investment funds.

As a result of entry into force of the MMF Regulation, some money market funds were re-classified as bond funds in January 2019. Due to the change, the amount of capital invested in bond funds increased by EUR 2.7 bn. In addition, a total of EUR 2.7 bn was invested in net terms in bond funds in February–September 2019. In addition to new investments, the fund capital of bond funds increased due to positive development of value by EUR2.6 bn in 2019. 

Bond funds’ assets are largely foreign

The majority of Finnish bond funds assets are long- and short-term debt securities (68%) as well as assets in other funds5 (26%).  In September 2019, Finnish bond funds had debt securities holdings of EUR40.5 bn, 84% of which were foreign. As regards government bonds, the largest investments were made in France and Italy. In September 2019, the amount invested in each these countries’ bonds was EUR 1.1 bn. In total, bond funds held EUR 7.8 bn worth of bonds issued by governments.

In addition, bond funds held a lot (EUR16.6 bn) of bonds issued by companies. Investments in short-term corporate debt securities totalled EUR 2.9 bn and in long-term corporate debt securities EUR 13.7 bn. Bond funds held mostly bonds issued by Finnish, Swedish and US companies, worth EUR5 billion, EUR3.9 billion and EUR2.1 billion, respectively.

Bond funds held debt securities worth EUR 16.1 bn issued by other sectors than governments and non-financial corporations in September 2019. The largest investments were made in Sweden (EUR 2.7 bn) and the Netherlands (EUR 2.3 bn). More than half of these investments were made in long-term debt securities issued by deposit banks.

Finnish bond funds’ debt security holdings increased in January–September 2019 by EUR 6.9 bn. The reclassification of money market funds as bond funds increased bond funds’ debt security assets by EUR 2.5 bn in January 2019. In addition, Finnish bond funds invested EUR 2.5 bn in net terms in debt securities in February–September 2019. Fixed-income market developments increased the value of bond funds’ debt security holdings by EUR 1.3 bn in 2019.


1 The aggregate fund capital of Finish investment funds grew by EUR 4.1 bn. EUR 2.9 bn of that growth consisted of the appreciation of equity funds.
2 As measured by the amount of capital invested in the fund.
3 s.128
4 Finnish: EUR8.7 bn; Swedish EUR3.2 bn. 
5 EUR15.2 bn in September 2019.

Finnish deposits and investments (EUR million), 2019Q3

  All Households Employment pension schemes
  stock (flows) change in valuation stock (flows) change in valuation stock (flows) change in valuation
Finnish investments            
Listed shares 181 755 3 664 36 921 619 30 096 586
  (-56)   (70)   (29)  
- in domestic shares 122 039 2 231 33 818 566 16 498 169
  (171)   (15)   (42)  
             
Bonds 200 090 2 661 2 369 21 36 289 925
  (-228)   (-85)   (-1 057)  
- in domestic bonds 69 944 691 1 527 16 4 194 48
  (-616)   (-73)   (-161)  
             
Fund shares            
Domestic investment funds 98 172 1 862 23 983 452 6 058 78
  (1 034)   (386)   (44)  
             
Foreign funds 143 642 4 689 2 472 48 103 140 3 984
  (580)   (56)   (801)  
             
Finnish bank deposits            
Transaction accounts 148 687 56 81 597 7 5 554 4
  (962)   (526)   (253)  
Other deposits 46 778 4 12 953 1 -* -*
  (-1 708)   (89)   -*  

*confidential

For further information, please contact:

Antti Alakiuttu, tel. + 358 9 183 2495, email: antti.alakiuttu(at)bof.fi,
Markus Aaltonen, tel. +358 9 183 2395, email: markus.aaltonen(at)bof.fi.

Related statistical data and graphs are also available on the Bank of Finland website: https://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/Statistics/saving-and-investing.

The next news release on saving and investing will be published at 1 pm on 13 February 2020.