GERMANY - Allianz Global Investors Kapitalanlagegesellschaft, the German investment arm of insurance giant Allianz, today said it has combined its pension advisory and product design operations in a new business.

The new Pension Markets division in Frankfurt and Munich will be in charge of product strategy in the pension segment and will collaborate the sales teams for retail fund with institutional funds and mandate business.

The merger will better equip Allianz, with almost €30bn in pension assets under management for third parties at the end of September last year, to offer pension products and linked services, the company claimed in a statement today.

Tobias Pross, chief executive of Allianz Pension Partners, has been appointed managing director of Allianz Global Investors Advisory and will also lead the Pension Markets division.

Pross commented the new division will focus on providing more efficient forms of corporate pension provision and external financing solutions with corporate clients, while also targeting the mid-cap sector, in a drive to grow contribution-based plans.

Additionally, it will also see a new combination of institutional business with the retail business offering pension products such as working time accounts, which are based on retail funds.

According to the firm, the development of customised investment strategies and the management of pension mandates, concentrated in the Pension Investment Advisory department, will play a key role in the new business.

"We will be adopting a holistic approch to professional pension business, said Pross, adding: "Only in this way can we also take full advantage of the various points of contact with the insurance arm within our group."

Direct pension promises (‘Direktzusagen') amount to around 56% of the firm's business, while corporate pension plans and support funds (Pensions- und Unterstützungskassen), made up 16%, and pension plans of industry associations were 20% of Allianz' business.

Pensionsfonds, the new Anglosaxon-style pension fund vehicle in Germany, now has a share of around 4%.

A spokesman told IPE the move is a natural development, as the firm now thinks it is time to spend equal focus on instutional and retail pension business.

No jobs have been lost through the merger, said the spokesman, adding in future the company may even recruit staff as the business develops.

The pension sales and advisory firm Allianz Pension Partners, set up in 2005, will continue to exist.

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