CZECH REPUBLIC - The 10 pension funds of the Czech third pillar returned an average of 3.1% in the first half of 2009.

Results published by the Czech pension fund association (APF) reveal the overall return comprised of a 1.59% gain achieved in the first quarter alongside 1.51% in the second quarter. (See earlier IPE article: Czech funds return 1.59% in Q1)

The best performing fund over the six-month period was managed by Allianz, with a 7.1% return,  followed by Generali with 4.9%. (See earlier IPE story: Czech Allianz fund grows assets to €283m)

Aegon was the worst performing fund as it generated a flat return on investments but ING was not far behind with a gain of just 0.2%.

Total assets in all funds increased to CZK193bn (€7.5bn), up from CZK186.1bn in December, and the number of participants crossed the 4.4 million mark, up from 4.2 million.

Axa and ING were the two funds which lost most members, as Axa saw its numbers depleted by 16,000 and ING lost close to 5,000 members.

That said, further shifts in participant numbers could be seen over the coming months as a new law came into effect at the beginning of Augus which means employers are no longer allowed to influence their employees’ choice of pension fund. (See earlier IPE story: Czechs given open pensions choice)

The combined profit of all Czech pension funds for the first six months rose to CZK1bn compared to CZK1.5bn at end-June 2008.

Axa and ING were the only two funds to post losses for the first six months of CZK16m and CZK337m.

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