GERMANY - BVV, a €17.7bn pension fund for the German financial services industry, says it will provide a corporate pension to employees at Landesbank WestLB - the fourth Landesbank it has acquired as a client.

BVV's pension is a defined contribution scheme which will be mainly targeted to new employees. However, BVV said the scheme was also open to employees at WestLB with the bank's employer-financed pension.

State-owned WestLB employs around 6,700 people. According to its annual report for 2005, it has set aside €618.6m worth of reserves to meet its pension liabilities.

"Strategically speaking, WestLB is an important client, as we will be able to strengthen our position among state-owned Landesbanks," commented Thomas Mühlenhoff, head of the BVV department responsible for acquisitions.

Beyond WestLB, one of Germany's largest Landesbanks with balance sheet assets of €260bn, BVV provides a pension to employees at HSH Nordbank, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg and Sachsen Landesbank.

Excepting the WestLB mandate, BVV insured around 318,000 people in Germany's financial services industry. Most of BVV's insured are bank employees, but it also provides a pension to accountants, finance lawyers, tax advisers and even private equity companies.

BVV said in May that its net return under German accounting rules (HGB) improved to 5.4% in 2005 from 5% in 2004. It not disclose its market return.

Regarding its asset allocation, BVV said it had 73.6% of assets invested in fixed income, mostly investment grade debt. Of the portion outside of bonds, BVV said 11.7% was allocated to equities and 4.4% to real estate - including 1.1% directly held and 3.3% invested in funds.

Shortly before the severe correction in equity markets late last spring, BVV claimed that "the lion's share of our equity investments are shielded against sudden drops in market prices".