EUROPE - Pension funds in the euro-zone are managing €1.35trn in assets, according to new statistics compiled by the European Central Bank (ECB).
For the first time, the ECB has released aggregated data for various financial vehicles in the euro-zone, including insurance companies and pension funds.
Jürgen Stark, member of the executive board at the ECB, said the pension fund data was compiled in close cooperation with EIOPA to "close some gaps in the harmonised balance sheet reporting" of the growing sector of euro-area financial intermediaries outside the money issuing sector.
The ECB said the statistics on pension funds covered only those pension funds that are institutional units separate from the units that create them - or those pension funds that have "autonomy of decision-making and keep a complete set of accounts".
Non-autonomous pension funds set up by credit institutions or non-financial corporations, for example, were not covered, nor were social security schemes.
In total, the included pension funds manage €1.35trn in assets divided up into the following vehicles and asset classes:Investment fund units €568bn (41%) Securities (excluding shares) €290bn (21.4%) Currencies and deposits €191bn (14%) Shares and equities €149bn (11%) Loans €74bn (5.4%) Other accounts payable/receivable and derivatives €42bn (3.1%) Non-financial assets €38bn (2.8%) Prepayments for insurance premiums and reserves for outstanding claims €25bn (1.8%) Money market fund units €6bn (0.4%)
According to the statistics, households in the euro-zone are holding 75.8% of their pension fund reserves in defined benefit schemes, 18.2% in defined contribution schemes and 0.6% in hybrid schemes.
The statistics are to be released quarterly, with an additional annual breakdown according to member countries.
Stark noted that the assets of insurance companies and pension funds included in the statistics currently accounted for about one-third of all assets of non-bank financial intermediaries within the euro area.
He said claims of households vis-à-vis life insurers and pension funds made up 30% of households' financial wealth.
He added that insurance corporations and pension funds would be monitored for "monetary policy and financial stability purposes" and pointed out that the cost for the industry would be "minimal" as aggregated data based on supervisory returns was collected.