ROMANIA - ING's Romanian pension fund Fond de Pensii was the first to file for a licence for second pillar pension provision which is expected to be open for business early next year.

Five months after parliament passed the law on supplementary occupational pension provision the daughter of Dutch insurance group ING becomes the first to officially file for a licence.

Nine other players including Allianz-Tiriac Asigurari (Allianz-Tiriac Insurance), Interamerican, Omniasig, Aviva, Certinvest, Raiffeisen Asset Management and BRD Asset Management have shown interest in the new market which is estimated to grow to €800m by 2010.

Meanwhile, a new player has emerged in the third pillar market which is considered by many companies as the first entry point into the supplementary pension sector.

Banca Transilvania (BT), ranking among Romania's top three banks judged by size, has earmarked €3.5m for the creation of a third pillar pension fund.

In order to offer pension provision under the second pillar, insurance and banking groups have to create a separate company whereas third pillar pension funds can be offered by a group directly.

The third pillar will also start collecting contributions from next year. Licences for this market have already been granted to BCR Asigurari de Viata, Allianz-Tiriac, ING Asigurari de Viata and Aviva Romania. OTP Garancia and Raiffeisen Asset Management have already filed for their licences.