GERMANY - The German Pensions-Sicherungs-Verein (PSV), which takes on insolvent companies' pension liabilities, has set its 2010 levy at 1.9/m.

Last year, the PSV levied by far the highest contribution rate in its history at 14.2/m - which equals 1.4% - in the wake of more than 700 insolvencies, including that of retail giant Arcandor.

In 2010, the value of insolvencies to be compensated by the members shrunk to €547m from around €4bn the year previous, which means the levy was slashed considerably to almost the pre-crisis 2008 level of 1.8/m.

The PSV said this year's levy was well below the average rate of 3.2/m. It said this showed it had come through the financial crisis well and that insolvency insurance in occupational pensions by the PSV was "back to normal".

However, until 2013, companies will have to add a further 1.5/m to the PSV levy, as last year's record rate was split into an 8.2/m payment at year end 2009, and four further instalments of 1.5/m each over the following four years.

Last year's levy hike had sparked a debate over the possibility of introducing a risk-based levy, which remains unresolved.