The Belgian asset management association, Beama, has estimated net assets in public funds distributed in Belgium have amounted to €148bn at end 2015 against €141.58bn at end 2014.
Beama, chaired by Hugo Lasat, outlined 2015 has been a year of positive inflows but that it has not been supported by a positive market effect.
Some 657 funds were registered at end 2015 on the Belgian public fund market of which 528 were foreign funds, 89 Belgian Sicav and 16 pension saving funds.
Over the last decade, the number of Belgian Sicav funds has slightly ebbed from 108 to 89 while these of foreign funds has grown significantly from 216 to 528.
Also Beama found out the use of fund of funds has risen through 2015 with a market share of 35.11% at the end of the year against 24.38% in 2014.
Three factors can explain this rise : the Belgian regulation, the tax environment and the search for efficiency.
The Belgian AM association assesses the local government tax measures taken between 2006 and 2014 have had a negative impact on the fixed income segment.
The asset class will continue to decline in relative terms, Beama says.
On the opposite, global balanced funds have raised the appetite of Belgian investors since a few years.
Beama’s figures suggest the Belgian fund market remains mainly retail-oriented (82.85%). Institutional investors account for 17.15%.
However, Beama specified that its figures do not take into account the non-public and institutional funds created and managed by the sector. A total of 149 pure institutional Belgian funds, managing €12.70bn in assets, have been tallied at end 2015.
Other findings of Beama showed that 1 in 8 private households in Belgium (12.40%) saves money through investment funds, more than in the European industry fund.
Beama highlighted that the Belgian AM industry will play a key role in the pension debate ongoing in the country, in particular in case of an extension towards individual DC plans within the third pillar.