ROMANIA - Allianz-Tiriac is the first among up to 10 possible players in the newly created Romanian second pillar pension market to confirm that it will file for a licence in May or June.

"Overall, we estimate that the first options for compulsory pension funds can be made in September, with the first contributions to be registered in January 2008," Crinu Andanut, head of Allianz-Tiriac's pension unit, was quoted by Romanian newswire Ziarul Financiar.  

He puts the size of pension fund assets for 2008, the first year in which the second and third pillar become operational, at more than €200m. "Around 2.5 million employees will contribute to the second pillar and by 2010 assets will go up to €800m. At the same time, the third pillar will have some 500,000 participants in 2010, with assets topping €300m," he said.

At the beginning of this year the Romanian parliament passed the law on second-pillar pension funds. A month later the Private Pension System Supervision Council (CSSPP) has reported that 10 companies have shown interest in setting up a pension fund under the new system. Among them are: Allianz-Tiriac Asigurari (Allianz-Tiriac Insurance), ING Asigurari de Viata (ING Life Insurance), Interamerican, Omniasig, Aviva, Certinvest, Raiffeisen Asset Management and BRD Asset Management.

Mihail Ion, CEO of Raiffeisen Asset Management in Romania, told IPE that the second pillar would be of interest to the Raiffeisen group because "there is a huge potential in terms of market size" and because the group has the expertise in this segment in the central and eastern European countries.

But he added that no final decision has been made as some clarification on the legal framework is still needed. Furthermore, the Raiffeisen group in Romania would have to set up a separate company for providing pension funds under the second pillar, as requested in the legislation.

Similarly, Allianz Tiriac said that they are waiting for the CSSPP to issue enforcement guidelines for the law by May or June.

In the meantime, BCR Asigurari de Viata was the first to file for a license to provide funds under the third pillar system and both Allianz-Tiriac and Raiffeisen Asset Management confirmed that they are close to filing theirs.