GERMANY - The German chemical employers association, the Bundesarbeitgeberband Chemie (BAVC) and the industry’s trade union, the Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Rnergie (IG-BCE), have received the go-ahead to launch Germany’s first sponsored Pensionsfond – the first grouping to do so.

“We received authorisation yesterday and we are immediately starting operations to have employers join the scheme,” says Axel Schack of the BAVC in Frankfurt. “We will have the first consultation with our member firms tomorrow about joining.”

Some of the bigger firms have indicated their interest, but are waiting to have the latest details before deciding, he says. He hopes that the giant Henkel chemical group could come on board among the big employers.

The plan, which includes the paper and glass industry, is open to a total of 600,000, but as a number of the larger players have existing schemes in place, not all of these are expected to join . Schack believes a large number of the smaller and medium-sized companies are likely to join, which is the aim of the federation.

The decision to set a Pensionsfond under the new pensions law was a joint decision with the union IG-BCE. “We worked in co-operation with the union all the way through,” says Schack. The representation on the pension fund board is on 50-50 basis and there will be an investment strategy committee with joint representation. The asset managers will be chosen jointly, he adds.

“We hope to have the first scheme members signed up by the end of April,” says Schack.