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Award provides opportunity to spread message to others

What the judges said: “Pens Plan is a pension fund which deserves very high scores both for Investment Strategy and Fund Structure & Administration.”
Winning an IPE award does not come as a surprise to PensPlan, which last year seized Italy’s investment strategy award, but for 2002, the Italian scheme turned its hand to fund administration, successfully emerging as IPE’s winner in this field.
Says PensPlan’s group manager, Michael Atzwanger: “this year, PensPlan viewed fund administration as a strategic goal to achieve. Unfortunately in Italy, many sectors are subject to malpractice, but we really have been forced to address the issue and introduce our own services.
“Pensplan is the regional fund for Bolzano, which is a bi-lingual area. About 350,000 of the 1m inhabitants speak German. We really needed bi-lingual services, therefore, and had to establish our own software to do so. Also, as we are a regional fund, and not a sector fund, we have a range of different contributors adding to the complexity. We have had to produce our own software, services and have had them certified. No other pension fund in Italy has achieved this,” he says.
“From an Italian point of view, winning the award is extremely important,” says Atzwanger. “Many schemes will have already heard of our project, but winning the award is certain to increase their interest, and make them more aware of the importance of administration and transparency.
“At the moment is still not mandatory to contribute to a pension fund, but improving the services, providing better administration, and increasing transparency will encourage employees to contribute. The process becomes less complicated for them. Other schemes need only look at the number of contributors we have to see this is true. Winning the award will advertise this fact and encourage others to follow in our footsteps.”

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