AUSTRIA  - Pension funds in Austria returned just under 2.4% over the first six months of the year, according to figures from the Austrian Control Bank (OeKB).

Company pension funds saw weaker performance on average, returning 1.1% compared with the 2.6% seen by multi-employer funds by the end of June 2010.

Examining performance over the last 12 months, both groups had nevertheless seen strong returns, with company funds leading by 1.4 percentage points at 10%, ahead of the multi-employer funds, which only posted 8.4% gains.

Andreas Zakostelsky, chairman the country's pension fund association FVPK was pleased with the returns, given the "tense situation" facing the euro-zone over the last few months.

He added: "Thanks to an investment strategy by pension funds that focuses on security and stability, we could nevertheless generate growth of 2.39% for our customers over the first half of 2010."

However, overall, the country's 19 funds have only seen an annualised performance of 3.6% in the last 13 years, posting negative returns on a three-year average.

Company schemes shied away from real estate investments, allocating less than 1% to the asset class, while multi-employer funds hold more than three times the amount in property.

European bond investments dominated both group's investments, with company-backed retirement funds allocating two-thirds of all funds to this asset, and multi-employer vehicles following close behind with 61%.

The remaining assets were almost evenly split between European and non-European equity, with an additional 2% allocated to the non-European bond market.