The €2.7bn provident fund of the VBV Group returned nearly 2% over 2015, well above Austria’s market average of just over 1%.

The VBV Vorsorgekasse is the largest provider of this kind of mandatory vehicle for severance payments, which have to be made by every company for every employer in Austria.

With the closure of the deal between the Bonus group and the Victoria Volksbanken group on the purchase of the Pensionskasse and Vorsorgekasse, the race for second place among the providers will heat up. 

The Vorsorgekasse Bonus and the Victoria Volksbanken are at a combined €2.2bn, while the Valida Vorsorgekasse also has more than €2bn in assets.

The VBV Vorsorgekasse has managed to grow its assets by 12% from €2.4bn to €2.7bn over the last year.

The fund “slightly reduced” its strategic equity allocation over the period to just over 10%.

As per year-end 2015, the fund was approximately 41% invested in bonds and 33% invested in loans and held-to-maturity fixed income.

Alternatives account for 2.3% of the portfolio, real estate 3.2%.

All of the scheme’s investments, as with almost all provident fund providers in Austria, are made employing sustainability criteria.

For 2016, the fund said it would continue with its “defensive positioning in the current volatile market” and that it would focus on “stability and capital preservation”.

The fund said its 2% return for 2015 had showed that investing sustainably was “paying off”. 

From April, Andreas Zakostelsky, formerly at Valida and chairman of the Austrian pension fund association FVPK, will take over at the VBV as group chief executive to replace retiring Karl Timmel.

In his position as managing director of the Pensionskasse, Timmel is succeeded by Gernot Heschl, who joined VBV’s board in January.