EUROPE - Austrian pension funds APK and Bonus have questioned the benefits of using external providers and said they found it hard to trust them with risk reporting and other services.

Christian Böhm, head of the APK scheme, told IPE he felt the added value of master KAGs - full-service providers that specifically target Pensionskassen and Versorgungswerke - was "doubtful".

"We are meeting the necessary reporting requirements with the help of software tools," he said. "A master KAG in between would probably make things only more complicated, especially when you have to coordinate, as in our case, many different managers."

Gerhard Neustädter, head of asset management at Bonus, echoed Böhm's scepticism.

"The question is how much in-depth data an external provider can deliver and in what timeframe, when all its clients want the data at the same time," he said.

Neustädter said it was also problematic for smaller funds, as such services are becoming cheaper with size, and the final responsibility remains with the Pensionskasse.

"There has to be inherent trust between the fund and the provider," he added, "so it does make sense if the KAG is part of the group."

Böhm said one area he could see potential added value was alternatives - particularly hedge funds, where pension funds might require detailed data for all trades.