FINLAND - The Central Church of Finland pension fund has agreed a deal to transfer the administration of its scheme to the Local Government Pensions Institution between 2008 and 2011.

The church, also known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, will transfer customer service, data management, processing and other pension activity-related work to the local authority agency in stages over the next three years.

It said the agreement with the local government pensions institution, Kuntien Eläkevakuutus, would guarantee pension delivery development and diversification, as well as "significant" cost savings and the development and maintenance of information systems.

The Church currently provides pension insurance for 19,000 members, receives 1,800 applications a year and pays out around €115m to 15,000 pensioners each year, while the local government pensions institution insures around 490,000 members and handles 27,000 pension applications a year, while paying pensions totalling €2.6bn to around 313,000 pensioners.

In its annual report, published in May 2008, the Church revealed it was implementing some structural changes to the organisation, including adopting a "comprehensive financial and HR administration system" for operation in 2011. 

The Church pension fund, valued at €746m in 2007, awarded two Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) mandates valued at €60m to Bank Sarasin and Morley in November after it announced a shift in its SRI strategy to target better long-term returns. (See earlier article: Finnish church takes the SRI path)

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