SPAIN – The Barcelona-based Caixa Catalunya has externalised its pension assets from the group balance sheet and will itself manage the Pts60bn (e360m) fund for its 5,000 employees.

The group’s labour unions have given their agreement to the out-sourcing, which will involve the setting up of an initial fund of Pts40bn (e240m) by the Caixa.

According to the plan, put together by the financial institution and its unions - the CCOO, UGT, SEC and Csica, Caixa Catalunya will pay an annual 5.5% of employee salary to the fund or a minimum of ESP180,000 (e1100). Workers currently over 50 years old will get a minimum pension of 85% of their pensionable salary.

Those employees whose contracts started before 1986 and not wishing to take part in the new plan have the option of sticking to the old defined benefit plan through an insurance contract. It is estimated around two thousand employees will fall into this category.

The new deal externalises the ESP20bn (e120m) of pension assets for those already retired through an insurance policy with Ascat Vida, the insurance company of Caixa Catalunya.