Double win for fund provides delight and welcome motivation

When Vienna based Verienigte Pensionskasse (VPK), Austria’s largest multi-employer pension fund, heard the news that it had won the IPE Award for both fund administration and investment strategy, the initial reaction was one of surprise.
“That’s not to say that we weren’t delighted or we felt it was undeserved,” says Martin Cech, senior investment manager at the fund. “But simply because there is so much going on at the fund at the moment that we didn’t have as much time to devote to preparing our application as we’d have liked,” he continues. VPK has been busy preparing itself for changes to the redundancy laws in Austria that come into effect next year that will add a new dimension to Austria’s retirement provision market that VPK hopes to play a major part in.
On the investment strategy, one judge appreciated transforming the bond portfolio into an ‘absolute return fund’. On the administrative side, the ‘active dynamic investment control’ clearly went down well.
VPK didn’t apply for the awards in 2001 but felt that some of the tactical asset allocation changes it made this year to maintain its positive track record of the past ten years merited an application for 2002.
“Surprise or no surprise, we are delighted with the award and it means a lot to us,” says Cech.
Cech believes the award will provide VPK with the perfect marketing tool in both its existing client relationships and with prospective new clients. “This is a great boost for us. To receive recognition from a publication of IPE’s stature and readership will help establish us a Europe-wide player. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to gain valuable exposure to the European markets,” he says.
Internally, the award acts as a motivator for a pension fund team that had come under some criticism from other departments, such as admin, sales and accounting.
“The award demonstrates the dedication and enthusiasm the pension fund team applies to its work. The team is proud and honoured to have won the award and feels its successes of the past year are now more than vindicated,” Cech comments.

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