GERMANY - The German employers' association BDA has said it is aiming to achieve consensus on the levy for the new pension insurance fund (PSV) by this autumn.

In the wake of the financial crisis, a number of major insolvencies led to a surge in contributions to the PSV, which in turn sparked a debate on a risk-based levy.

However, Heribert Karch, chairman of the German pension fund association aba, confirmed at the association's annual meeting in Stuttgart last week that no consensus had been reached on a possible new contribution system.

"The PSV committee, which I am heading within the aba, must iterate that we have reservations regarding the levy logic within the PSV because risks have diverged - even before the spectacular insolvencies," he said.

Alexander Gunkel, board member at the BDA, presented the latest version of his association's proposal on a new PSV levy in Stuttgart, but added that no final consensus had yet been reached. 

"We have scheduled the final survey among our members for autumn, as it is legitimate to give people another six months after a discussion that has so far lasted around six to seven years," he said, adding that "this is not a debate on the PSV itself but only on the contribution structure".

According to the latest BDA proposal, CTAs and other buffers - as well as safety mechanisms such as reinsurance used by companies - are to be acknowledged when the PSV levy is determined.

On the controversial subject of including Pensionskassen under the PSV scheme, the BDA has now dismissed an initial proposal but might reconsider it depending on how much these funds are affected by new European solvency regulations.

Karch stressed that "all topics must be discussed - none can be left out".

He added: "We have to do everything to strengthen the PSV, even if the solution to that is something that is only just acceptable for German companies."

Representing the €3.3bn the PSV itself, board member Hans Melchiors said it would be required to apply Solvency II as an insurer, but added that it was still unclear how the fund would be classified.

"Actually," he said, "Solvency II does not really fit our business model, and we have the special situation that PSV membership itself is used to determine additional capital under Solvency II."

He pointed out that the PSV would be using a modified standard model approach under Solvency II.