GERMANY – Allianz Group’s pension arm has won approval from financial regulator Bafin to take over existing corporate defined benefit pension plans.

Allianz Dresdner Pensionsfonds, or ADPF, said in a statement that it has received confirmation from Bundesanstalt fuer Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht that it is able to take over existing pension commitments of corporate pension schemes into its own corresponding pension plans.

The new pension plans can now be offered to companies seeking to transfer their existing pension book reserves, the group said.

Allianz says the service would be appropriate for companies aiming to sell operations to purchasers who don’t want to assume existing pension commitments. “In such case, the transfer of the pension plan to a company external pension fund may be appropriate.”

"We are directing our attention especially at companies that are planning a reorganisation," said Brigitte Miksa, the ADPF board member responsible for sales.

"Experience at ADPF has clearly shown that international companies with German subsidiaries in particular are also endeavouring to take the pension book reserves out of the balance sheet, especially in view of accounting according to IAS or US GAAP.”

Companies can transfer existing pension plans via a one-off contribution to ADPF. The group says it has more than 50 enquiries so far. Miksa said: "We are certain that considerable business potential also exists for ADPF in 2004 and beyond.”

The unit is also studying a solution for deferred members and pensioners - who cannot be transferred to a pension fund under labour law.

ADPF’s investments are advised by Allianz Dresdner Asset Management International and managed by dbi.