AUSTRIA - Austrian Pensionskassen could be heading for a good annual result, the pension fund association FVPK has suggested, as the funds returned an average 3% on investments in the first quarter of this year .

According to preliminary figures issued by the FVPK, the 17 Austrian Pensionskassen returned an average of 2.98% for the first quarter, compared to  a 1.04% loss in Q1 2009.

The Pensionskassen are "well on track to level out the losses suffered during the financial crisis" if economic forecasts for 2010 hold true, according to Christian Böhm, head of the FVPK.

The pension funds returned 2% in 2007, which is below the required discount rate of 3.5%, while average losses amounted to 12.9% in 2008, contrasting 2009 when the pension funds delivered a 9% positive return. (See earlier IPE story: Austrian company funds enjoy a better year)

Membership remained constant at 780,000 participants, as did asset levels at €13.8m, and the long-term average return still stands at 5.9%.

These statistics were published just as as a pensioners' lobby group staged another protest against the Pensionskassen in front of a government building in Vienna.

The Pekabe has criticised pension cuts which have been made as a result of assuming too high a discount rate in the early 1990s growth of the Pensionskassen system, alongside concerns about being invested  in a largely pure DC scheme. (See earlier IPE article: Austria: Domestic headwinds buffet Pensionskassen)

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