BELGIUM – KBC, which launched a pension pooling fund for Suez earlier this year, says the technique offers various benefits which reduces costs.

Its KBL European Private Bankers arm launched the first pension vehicle in Luxembourg in February for companies in the Suez stable.

It said in its first-half earnings report today: “A pension pooling vehicle is an investment fund exclusively designed to pool assets invested by the various supplementary pension schemes of one and the same multinational group.

“Such pooling can achieve cost savings through economies of scale, better risk diversification and tax efficiency.”

It also revealed that its KBC Asset Management won a net 25 institutional and “VIP” client mandates in the first half – taking its total to more than 350.

KBC AM “won on balance another 25 new mandates to manage the investments of institutional customers and VIP clientele in Belgium, bringing to total to 356 as at mid-2005”.

Assets under management have risen 16% since the start of the year to €97bn. It said two-thirds of this was attributable to net inflows. First-half profit at the unit rose €17m to €126m.

It launched 107 new investment funds in Belgium in the first six months of the year. Twenty-eight new funds were launched in Central Europe.

Overall KBC’s first-half profit rose to €536m, up 24% on the prior year period.