GERMANY – Financial services group Commerzbank and investment consultancy Höfer Vorsorge-Management have set up PENSOR Pensionfonds AG, a joint venture pension fund company established in anticipation of the huge demand for occupational products that the Riester reforms will produce.

Unlike some of its rivals, PENSOR, which is based in Mülheim an der Ruhr, is not affiliated to any specific industry or sector. It hopes to attract workers from all sectors and companies by offering a range of occupational retirement provision products according to individual requirements.

Says Reinhold Höfer, managing director of Höfer Vorsorge-Management: “the most important future element of occupational pension provision will be customised solutions in accordance with one of the five potential methods of occupational pension provision on offer as part of the Riester framework.”

PENSOR is targeting large companies as well as the mid and small-sized companies that are largely expected to benefit the most from the Riester reforms. Höfer says that many workers in small and mid-sized firms didn’t have any access to pension provision before Riester, but that didn’t mean that large companies, many of which already have established Pensionskassen, wouldn’t be interested in offering new savings vehicles to supplement their existing schemes.

“Many larger firms will keep their Pensionskassen but look at ways to complement them through the new pension fund companies, whilst smaller firms will probably look more favourably at Anglo-Saxon_style pension funds,” he says.

The new company has already named Klaus Friedrich, a senior consultant at Höfer Vorsorge-Management, and Christian Mosel, global head of marketing at Commerzbank, as board members. They are joined by Hans-Jürgen Weigel, who was chairman of the board of insurance company Alte Leipziger where he worked for 25 years.

Industry analysts in Germany expect that corporate pension products will make up around two thirds of all public pension provision in the mid to long-term. Last year, occupational pension provision in Germany exceeded €300bn.