Austrian Pensionskassen are now managing 78% of the assets under defined contribution (DC) schemes, 18% under defined benefit (DB) schemes and 4% under other forms of occupational pension arrangements, according to a report by the supervisory authority FMA.

DB schemes are often not available to new employees, making DC schemes the predominant arrangement, it added.

The number of members has increased from 994,752 at the end of last year to reach over one million for the first time, precisely to 1,003,352, as of June of this year.

Only 23% of the employees is entitled to receive a pension from a Pensionskasse, and 12% of all beneficiaries are already receiving a pension benefit.

The majority of the pension funds manage contracts of fewer than 60,000 beneficiaries with assets of less than €2bn, except for the Bundespensionskasse managing around 243,000 beneficiaries for total assets of €1.3bn.

Contributions amounted to €1.2bn, outweighing the benefits in the amount of €1bn, the FMA said.

The largest Pensioskassen in Austria in terms of number of members and assets are VBV-Pensionskasse, Valida and APK Pensionskasse, it said.

FMA noted that the trend towards market consolidation appears to have come to an end, with the number of Pensionskassen unchanged year-on-year in 2020 at eight.

Equities top asset class

Equity investments represent the top asset class in Pensionskassen portfolios for the first time with a total of €10bn, according to an FMA report.

Investments of Pensionskassen in equities traded on the stock market and private markethe have reached the highest level in portfolios to date with 39% allocated to the asset classes in the second quarter of this year, followed by bonds with 34%, credit with 7%, real estate with 5% and other investments with 13%, the report said.

Allocations in infrastructure have so far only made up a small share of the portfolios, although the highest level of €447m invested in the asset class in absolute terms was recorded in Q2 this year, corresponding however to only 1.7% of total assets, the report added.

The share of bonds in Pensionskassen portfolioa fell instead by €313m in the first half of this year, despite higher valuations for example of government bonds, compared with Q4 last year. It now stands at €9bn or 34% of total assets.

The Pensionskassen invest directly over 95% of theif assets through funds, which are often managed or significantly influenced by the pension funds as special funds or fund of funds.

They returned 4.8% in the first half of the current year with assets under management of €26.2bn.

According to an analysis of the portfolios conducted by FMA with PACTA, of the €12.17bn invested in equities an corporate bonds, around €1.33bn, approximately 5.1% of total investments, is invested in climate-relevant sectors.

For equities, the Pensionskassen finance electricity generation, automobile production, and oil and gas production sectors with around 7.2% of the identified holdings. In corporate bonds, these three sectors account for 14.7% of the investments.

Austrian Pensionskassen have a lower exposure to oil and gas sectors in equities, while investments in the electricity and automotive sectors are made in companies that have a higher share of low-carbon technology.

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