Hungary's voluntary pension fund system is still enjoying significant growth in scheme membership and fund assets, with a report by the Hungarian state private fund supervisory body showing plan numbers up by 141,000 and asset growth at 26% on the year end 1997 figures, for the first half of 1998.

Membership of voluntary schemes now stands at over 829,000, a leap of over 20% on the previous year, although the number of funds themselves is unchanged.

And the healthy rise in the growth rate of assets is only outshone by the 53% level reached in the first half of 1997.

Of the 311 voluntary funds in Hungary, 256 operate as pension schemes, 37 as health funds and 18 as mutual benefit arrangements, but the pension schemes still embrace 97% (808,000 people) of fund members, and more than 99% (HUF 71.5bn) of fund assets.

The composition of these fund's assets has not changed dramatically though, with the trend for Hungarian government securities still at 62%, although in the first two quarters of 1998, assets realised in government bonds came out at around 68%, due to fluctuations in the stock exchange.

On the mandatory pensions side, data presented by the country's 35 funds showed membership leaping from 631,000 to over 1m before July 1 1998, at which time affiliation to a mandatory scheme became obligatory for all new workers.

Revenue from funds leapt from HUF2.5bn to HUF7.2bn, with in-terest-like returns from investment activities expanding rapidly.

The investment value of the funds was approximately HUF9.6bn, with on average 63% of portfolios in Hungarian government securities, 21% represented by bank accounts and cash and, 14% invested in stocks.