AUSTRIA - Vienna based consultant Roger Emmett has issued his latest ranking on Austrian Vorsorgekassen - the country's severance pay funds.

The funds were introduced in 2003 as a mandatory collection scheme for severance payments, into which each employee is compelled to contribute and many self-employed workers joined three years ago.

For the second time in a row, Emmett, has awarded the top ranking to the newest provider in the market, Fair-Finance - mainly due to the interest rate guarantee it offers. The fund was runner up for best Austrian pension fund at this year's IPE Awards in Brussels.
Markus Zeilinger, founder of Fair-Finance, told IPE his fund reported a 4.19% performance for the first nine months of 2009 compared to a market average of around 0%. 

According to Andreas Csurda, head of the severance pay fund association, the funds will close the year "just about on the positive side".
In 2011, assets in this mandatory system surpassed the €4bn mark and with an annual inflow of around €600m to €700m, the funds are predicted to surpass Pensionskassen in assets under management by 2025.                                              
In other news from Austria, the €140m Pensionskasse of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce WKÖ says it aims to transfer its members and assets to a multi-employer fund and pay additional contributions to the fund in the coming years.
Further, the fund will be closed for new members and introduce a discount rate of 2.75%, below the legal maximum of 3%. 

WKÖ's scheme had run into difficulties because of too high discount rates and now invalid longevity assumptions first made when the fund launched in 1999.