GERMANY - MLP AG, an independent financial adviser, says it aims to double its share of the occupational pensions advising market to eight percent by 2010.

Speaking at a recent MLP event, Harald Huhn, director of MLP’s new occupational pensions business, said the goal was achievable due to the huge expected growth of the market.

Huhn noted that while German employees since the beginning of 2002 had a legal right to a pension, only 43% of all German employees actually owned one.

Among German companies with less than 50 employees, the pension ownership rate was even smaller, Huhn said, adding that these facts presented an excellent opportunity for MLP.

Prior to the start of last year, MLP was largely known for providing financial advice to doctors, solicitors and other well-paid professionals. As 2004 began, MLP identified occupational pensions as a core business and hired Huhn, a former personnel executive at German chemical giant BASF, to run it.

The business got a big boost when several months later, MLP acquired Berag GmbH, an adviser with around 1,000 clients, most of which are small pension funds. Last November, the business, called MLP BAV GmbH, also recruited Ralf Raube, a former managing director at the pensions management arm of German insurer Gerling.

However, in attempting to increase its market share, MLP BAV is pitting itself against Germany’s top advisers, including Heubeck AG, Heissmann and Bode Grabner Beye, which recently announced a joint German venture with Hewitt of the US.

Like its competitors, MLP BAV does not manage the pension assets itself but instead cooperates mainly with German insurers.