Government Employees Pension Service (GEPS) reported its best returns on investment in 2020 despite headwinds from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the improvement attributed to increased allocations to equities and alternative assets.

The South Korean pension fund achieved a return of 880.1 billion won ($800.6 million), exceeding the previous record of 775.9 billion won in 2019. The results also surpassed the fund’s target of 335.3 billion won.

The fund’s investments in both traditional and alternative assets delivered strong returns, but the high point was a 22.9% return on equity investments, thanks to an increased exposure to sectors benefiting from the pandemic. Its alternative investments yielded a 7.3% return.

GEPS said early last year that it planned to “adjust allocations to risky assets to enhance returns as market volatility continues to rise”.

The fund has targeted a 4.1% return this year. It will continue to increase its allocations to overseas assets and alternatives to achieve more diversification.

GEPS had 8.2 trillion won in assets under management at the end of 2020, with about 39% allocated to fixed income, 33.5% to equities and 23.1% to alternative assets. Exposure to alternative assets will be lifted to 24.9% in 2021 and 32% in 2024. (Reporting by Hee-yeon Han)