GERMANY - Heubeck AG, Germany's best-known actuary, has formed a joint venture with state-owned savings banks (Sparkassen) to provide corporate clients of the banks with actuarial and pension administration services.

According to S PensionsManagement (SPM), the Sparkassen's corporate pensions advice arm, the banks have also taken a 50% stake in Heubeck as part of the venture.

"We have the option of raising our stake in Heubeck to 90% in 2010, unless something else happens, such as a foreign partner taking a stake in the actuary," said Uwe Langohr-Plato, managing director of SPM.

Following a failed merger with German software firm FJH in early 2005, Professor Klaus Heubeck, chief executive of the eponymous firm, told IPE he would bring in a "strategic investor" at some point.

"If you consider what is happening to other German pensions advisors like Bode, which just tied up with Hewitt, it's clear that every player in the business will have to think about repositioning itself," he said at that time.

That said, the Cologne-based actuary will be controlled until 2010 by Professor Heubeck and the other partners, said Hartmut Engbroks, board member at Heubeck.

"Our advising business will, therefore, continue to be run separately from what we are doing with the Sparkassen," Engbroks told IPE.

Heubeck provides actuarial and pensions administration services to 1,000 firms in Germany, as well as numerous pension funds.

Working with SPM, Heubeck will offer its services to the corporate clients of SPM's two pension funds, including a Pensionskasse (insurance-type scheme) and a Pensionsfonds (equity-oriented scheme).

"It's all part of the Sparkassen's goal to reach a market share of 25% in German corporate pensions," said Langohr-Plato.

The SPM managing director added its multi-employer Pensionskasse was the second-largest of its kind after that from German insurance giant Allianz as the Pensionskasse has €807m in assets.

Prior to joining SPM last January, Langohr-Plato, a well-known figure in German pensions, was managing director of the pensions advising arm of German insurer Gerling.