Bearing in mind the as yet unresolved European debt crisis and the associated uncertainties, we shall maintain the conservative orientation of significant parts of our investment portfolio. Nevertheless, irrespective of the sovereign debt issue, the improved economic outlook will be reflected in selective risk-taking. Our emphasis on broad diversification will be retained unchanged. By way of a neutral modified duration we shall continue to ensure that the interest rate risk is tightly managed.
The enlargement of the asset portfolio is expected to have a positive effect on investment income, although the average return will decline owing to sustained low interest rates. In view of the low returns on more secure investments, we shall continue to invest in products offering attractive credit spreads and selectively expand our portfolio in the areas of alternative investments and real estate.
Given the high capital requirements and potentially increased volatility on equity markets – which are in part driven by liquidity –, our cautious stance on investments in listed equities at current valuation levels remains unchanged.