GERMANY – The book-vale of the traditional Pensionskassen rose from DM 131.7bn (€67.3bn) in 1999 to DM 138.9bn (€71bn) in 2000, according to the latest annual report of the BAV, the federal insurance supervisory body.

However, a spokesman for the BAV says this is likely to change as the Riester reforms have opened up the German retirement savings market to greater second and third pillar competition. He also points out that the latest figures refer to year end 2000, and that it is hard to assess the current situation.

“The pensions market is a bit confusing at the moment, especially since the start of this year when the Riester reforms came into force. 2001 saw a lot of debate. It remains to be seen how the overall pensions market will develop in 2002,” he comments.

An increased array of pensions products will eventually have an impact on the Pensionskassen market. “In addition to pension funds, there are now capitalised Pensionskassen and life insurance funds. Whilst we expect the traditional Pensionskassen to remain the primary source of retirement income, there is likely to be a slowdown in their growth,” he says.

Elsewhere, new regulations forced the traditional Pensionskassen to submit “solvency sheets” from 1999. The latest BAV annual report says of the 141 Pensionskassen the BAV supervised in 1999, 96 had to submit solvency sheets.

The solvency rate for these companies was 117.1% which the BAV spokesman says proves the Pensionskassen are still “very healthy”.