AUSTRIA - Austrian Pensionskassen posted a negative -1.2% result for the first half of 2011, while reducing their equity exposure over the same time frame according to new data released by the country's pension fund association.

Andreas Zakostelsky, chairman of the pension fund association FVPK, said the returns were "in line with the markets" given the macro-economic environment and said he saw more potential in the latter half of the year.

Reacting to the negative result, a group representing a number of pension fund members who experienced severe losses to their substantial supplementary pensions said this was the "new Pensionskassengau", a meltdown of the system and the worst possible scenario.

But Zakostelsky added that the past few years had shown that half-year results wee "unsuitable for a full-year prognosis".

Over the last 20 years Pensionskassen returned close to 6% on average. 

In its statement, the FVPK also noted that the Pensionskassen had reduced their equity level over the first six months from 32% to 25%.

In total the Pensionskassen are managing €15bn in assets for 800,000 members.

Meanwhile, the Pensionskasse of the Viennese branch of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) refuted media reports of losses amounting to €130m over the last years.

An Austrian magazine had examined pension funds' financial reports and reported outflows from pension pay-outs as losses.
According to the chairman of the pension fund, Josef Moser, the fund suffered net losses between 2005 and 2010 of €15m.

The WKÖ Pensionskasse had recently made the headlines for suffering losses from an investment in R-Quadrat, a real estate company which has meanwhile filed for bankruptcy

A possible breach of information disclosure requirements regarding investment risks by the company is currently under examination.