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Austrian roundup: FVPK, FMA, BKV, arithmetica

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Austrian Pensionskassen have reported an average 3.2% return for the first nine months of 2013, a substantial gain on their average half-year performance of 0.86%.

For the third quarter, the local pension fund association, FVPK, reported a 2.4% return.

Andreas Zakostelsky, chairman at the FVPK, said he was optimistic about the results, as they showed Pensionskassen were able to weather short-term dips in the financial markets.

Meanwhile, Austrian supervisory body FMA also released its official figures for the second quarter.

It found that Austria’s 16 Pensionskassen returned -1.3% over the second quarter, bringing the half-year return to 0.9% – similar to the 0.86% reported by the FVPK over the summer.

FMA figures also showed that almost 47% of the €16.5bn in pensions assets managed at the end of the second quarter was invested in bonds, and 28.3% in equities.

The remainder was invested in cash, real estate and loans.

After hedging, around 18.5% of assets was invested in foreign currencies.

In other news, collective corporate pension scheme BKV saw assets increase by 1.4% quarter on quarter to €619.3m, as of the end of June.

As part of a reform plan introduced earlier this year, BKV pensioners, as well as people close to retirement, have until the end of October to switch to an insurance-based scheme offering certain guarantees.

The BKV is a competitor to the Pensionskassen’s own Sicherheitspension, or ‘safety pension’, which was also introduced by the reform.

From January 2014, a new feature will be introduced into the Austrian pension system, the so-called Pensionskonto.

Using the Pensionskonto, Austrians, similar to the Swedes, will now be able to learn how much of a pension they can expect from each pillar.

Christoph Krischanitz, managing director at the actuarial consultancy arithmetica, said: “Until now, only pensioners got any information on their pension, but people still working did not.”

He said he expected the new information would make the topic of pensions more “politically dynamic” and might lead to future shortages in the first pillar.

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