German pension funds have invested a measly €912m in Spezialfonds in the first quarter of this year when compared with the €3.2bn invested by insurance companies, according to the quarterly report published by the consultancy Kommalpha.

By contrast, in the fourth quarter of 2022, pension schemes allocated a total of approximately €16.9bn to Spezialfonds, compared with €16.7bn by insurance companies.

The reasons for the decline could be that German pension funds have opted for other investment opportunities such as Luxemburg funds or direct investments, or the drop could have been caused by sudden changes in business operations, according to Clemens Schuerhoff, executive board member of Kommalpha.

Less than 8% of the net fresh liquidity of pension funds ended up in Spezialfonds in the first quarter of the year, and approximately €11bn in liquidity was withdrawn out of a total freshly endowed liquidity of €12bn, according to the report.

As of the end of March, pension institutions held €541bn in Spezialfonds, a market share of 27.9%, making them the largest investor in the vehicle in Germany. Investments in mixed securities funds make up the largest share with 52%, or €281bn, followed by fund of funds with €104bn.

Overall, net inflows in Spezialfonds from investors stood in the first quarter of the current year at €15bn, below the quarterly average of the past few years.

European Commission approves UBS-Credit Suisse merger

The European Commission has given unconditional go-ahead to the merger between Credit Suisse and UBS, it said yesterday in a statement.

According to the Commission, the deal does not raise competition concerns in the European Economic Area (EEA).

In the EEA, the banks have overlapping businesses in wealth and asset management, and in investment banking, but this would “not significantly reduce competition”, according to a market investigation carried out by the Commission.

The asset management division of Credit Suisse has recorded net outflows of CHF11.6bn, or 3% of total assets under management of CHF1.3trn, in the first quarter of this year.

UBS acquired Credit Suisse for CHF3bn, in a deal brokered by Swiss authorities to save the bank from collapse, with emergency liquidity assistance from the government and the national bank.

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