ROMANIA - The nine pension funds in Romania’s mandatory second pillar ended the year with another positive quarter, bringing the total performance to 15.1%.

However, the result brought the annualised return since inception in 2008 slightly down to 15.2% from 16.2% at the end of the third quarter in 2010. (see Romanian pension funds return 13.3% to end of third quarter )

Crinu Andanut, chairman of the Romanian Pension Funds’ Association, said: “These double-digit returns are even more important while being achieved with a relatively low-risk exposure, which is an essential feature of pension funds in Romania.”

The returns were well above the inflation rate of 8%, with Romanian government bonds having offered a return of just over 7% over the year and stocks listed in Romania having returned 14.6%.

Assets in the funds rose to RON4.3bn (€1bn), now covering almost 5.2m Romanians, 275,000 more than at the beginning of 2010.

Meanwhile, the Romanian Constitutional Court confirmed all parts of the planned pension reform as “constitutional”, and the president has since signed the bill. (see Romania approves pension reform with changes to indexation, retirement age )

Opposition parties, as well as the Romanian president, had criticised the reduction of the proposed pension age for women from 65 to 63 years while the retirement age for men remains at 65.

Currently, women have to work until the age of 59 and men until the age of 64.