AUSTRIA -The average return of Austrian Pensionskassen for 2006 was 5.5%, four percentage points above inflation but less than half the previous year's bumper performance.
Rising interest rates prevented returns similar to 2005's 11.4%.  Bonds account for almost 60% of the investments of Austrian Pensionskassen,

The annualised return for Pensionskassen since their inception in the early 1990s is 7%.

Returns were boosted by positive developments on the equity markets, Christian Böhm, head of the Austrian Pensionskassen association (FVPK), said.

The value of assets invested by Austrian pension funds increased by €1bn over the last year, €651m of which was due to market returns.

The number of members increased by 13.9% over 2006 to over 500,000.  That is a significant increase in interest for occupational pensions as the average increase in earlier years was just 8%.

"Employees want to preserve a certain living standard when they retire and today they know that to achieve this they need an occupational pension," said Fritz Janda, managing director of the FVPK.

For APK, Austria's second largest Pensionskasse with over €2bn in assets, a return of almost 7% was filed for 2006. Third largest ÖPAG, over €1.8bn in assets, saw its returns drop to 5% last year. Bonus Pensionskasse with €231.8m assets reported a return of 6.7%.