AUSTRIA – Valida has finalised the takeover of the Austrian Siemens Pensionskasse, but will be running it as a separate entity under the name of Valida Industrie Pensionskasse.

With the new entity, Valida wants to "attract companies in the industrial sector" that so far have not been part of its client spectrum, Valida chairman Andreas Zakostelsky told journalists in Austria.

Stefan Eberhartinger – managing director of the Siemens Pensionskasse, as well as the future Valida Industrie Pensionskasse – confirmed the industrial sector was one of the few in Austria in which almost every company had a Pensionskassen solution in place.

"As Siemens Pensionskasse, we had several companies asking us whether they could join our pension fund, but we were not allowed to take them on under company policy – and they most likely asked us because they were unsatisfied with their current arrangements," he said.

He pointed out the Siemens Pensionskasse had been set up with a very lean administrative structure and standardised processes that could be easily integrated into any large company's organisational structure.

He said this was a feature he wanted to use as selling point.

Additionally, he mentioned the current structure of asset management at the Siemens Pensionskasse, where all funds are pooled in funds of funds administered by Macquarie, which acquired Siemens' own asset manager Innovest in 2010.

"For example," Eberhartinger said, "we have a much higher share of emerging market exposure, around 15% in total, compared with Valida and also a higher share in some other asset classes that belong to the category 'risky assets' such as high-yield bonds."
Eberhartinger reported year-to-date performance for the Siemens fund of around 8%, citing high yields and corporates.

No figures are available yet for the Valida Pensionskasse, which is offering a wide range of different portfolios with very different risk levels.

The transaction had been set back slightly by the federal competitive authority, which wanted to assess whether the deal would give Valida a market-dominating position.

Valida chairman Zakostelsky said: "It is a compliment that the competitive authority thought we might have such an influence on the market, and I think it really has to be glad there is another competitor in the industrial sector."

When Pensionskassen where created in Austria in the 1990s, many formerly state-owned industrial companies joined the APK fund.

With the additional €650m added to the existing €4m in the Valida Pensionskasse and another sub-Pensionskasse, the Valida Holding might actually have taken VBV's number one place as the largest manager of pension assets in Austria – detailed figures will be available in the respective annual reports.

Together with Siemens' pension assets, Valida is also taking on €120m from the company's severance pay fund, which will be managed as a separate entity for a year before being integrated into Valida's severance pay fund Valida Plus.