Combining Efficiency With Quality Control
Judge’s comment: “No-nonsense approach and outstanding performance ensure this is the best Austrian Pensionskasse performer in 2014”
An autonomous and independent subsidiary of Germany’s giant financial services group, Allianz, Austria’s Allianz Pensionskasse has continually grown since its inception in 1997, such that by the end of 2014, the multi-employer scheme boasted nearly €600m in assets and some 30,500 members and prospective beneficiaries. Moreover, it claims to be the best over performer in its class in Austria with return figures for various portfolios ranging from between 6.01% to 11.7%.
Independent it may be in its operations, but when it comes to asset management, Allianz Pensionskasse makes full use of the Allianz group’s large investment management teams, particularly Allianz Invest’s fund of funds and mutual funds departments for both investment analysis and asset allocation. Alllianz Invest is thus the pension fund’s sole investment manager and operates a well-structured and active process that is based on a combination of top-down and bottom up elements managed with a particular regional focus. It analyses and assesses more than 300 different input factors to determine where to invest optimally before matching the results against Allianz Pensionskasse’s own scoring model and specifications before deciding an actual course of asset allocation.
This has been the scheme’s preferred, not to mention successful, investment strategy since 2005. It relies on an active management style with key allocation decisions leaving Allianz Pensionskasse overweight equities at the expense of alternatives and cash and overweight euro-denominated periphery bonds versus core euro government bonds in the fixed income space.
Allianz Pensionskasse AG
Founded in 1997
Defined benefit and defined contribution multi-employer Pensionskasse structure
- active: 25,900
- retirees: 4,537
Performance as a percentage:
- one year: 9.90
- three years: 7.54
- five years: 4.79
- ten years: 3.77
- Active approach based on strong manager selection
- Top down and bottom up analysis based on specific regional focus
- APK Pensionskasse AG
- Austrian Lawyers Pension Fund
Judges comment: “A truly innovative model of quality management within the Austrian provident fund market”
The award winning nature of VBV Vorsorgekasse’s entry this year stems from a high-level decision in 2013 to focus on business excellence to improve its overall fortunes and to prepare for the future. This, the scheme claims, is an innovative and highly unusual area of focus for an Austrian pensions organisation or financial services company.
To help it achieve its goals it enlisted the help of Quality Austria, a leading Austrian organisation offering integrated management systems and advice on quality, environmental and safety issues as well as optimal business and operational practice solutions. While there are numerous management tools and techniques available, Quality Austria’s EFQM Excellence Model provides a holistic view of VBV Vorsorgekasse that can be applied to determine how different approaches and areas of operation fit together and complement each other. The initial results were promising, with VBV Vorsorgekasse rated a three-star company according to the EFQM Excellence model. This rose to four stars in 2014 before it achieved the highest rank of five stars in April 2015.
Asset management is a key area of VBV Vorsorgekasse that has benefited from this new rating approach. Recognising consequently that asset management is inherently more complex than simply considering manager performance as an indicator that it has the best in class manager for a given mandate, the scheme now evaluates its managers from a broader spectrum of factors on a periodic basis. These factors include strategic asset allocation, investment beliefs, stakeholder expectations alongside key performance data and indicators.
VBV - Vorsorgekasse AG
Founded in 2002
Defined contribution multi-employer Vorsorgekasse structure
- active: 2,554,036
Performance as a percentage:
- one year: 4.23
Calculation method: OeKB
- Revamped business model based on holistic approach
- Multi-faceted manager selection process
- fair-finance Vorsorgekasse