AUSTRIA - Average losses for Austria's 20 Pensionskassen amounted to -13.1% last year, according to preliminary calculations by their federation.

Based on a survey among its members the Austrian Pensionskassen Federation FVPK noted the five-year average return is now down to 2.62% from 6.8% the year before.

Comparing results between multi-employer funds and those run by a company Fritz Janda, president of the FVPK, told IPE they had performed "roughly equal".

In a statement he pointed out thanks to the "conservative investment strategy" by Austrian Pensionskassen "further losses were averted".

Assets in Pensionskassen dropped from €13.1bn in 2007 to €11.5bn by the end of 2008. (See earlier IPEstory: Austrian funds at 2% 'do better than many funds elsewhere')

Unions have used the announcement to renew their calls for the reintroduction of the minimum return guarantees, abolished in 2003. (See earlier IPE story: VBV wants variable calculation rate)

Furthermore, they stressed the pension system "must not rely on the capital markets" and claimed a strong first pillar "was the only guarantee for a sustainable pension system".

Meanwhile, the Austrian National Bank has published figures suggesting people's assets in life insurances and Pensionskassen have dropped €1.4bn to €76bn "because of lower prices" on the markets. Of the €76bn in assets, less than 20% is held in Pensionskassen.

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