HUNGARY - Austrian insurance group Uniqa has sold its Hungarian pension asset management to Dutch financial group Aegon because it felt the pressure of consolidation.

Uniqa asset management and Heller-Saldo 2000 Pension Fund Management Company will increase Aegon's pension assets in Hungary by €300m to €1.9bn from June.

"There is a consolidation process going on in the Hungarian market," a spokesman for Uniqa explained to IPE.

"We had the alternative of either acquiring another pension manager ourselves to reach a certain size or selling this part of the business."

The insurer had acquired the Hungarian pension management business in 2003 as part of Axa Austria, but the decision to sell was made as "pure asset management is not Uniqa's core competence," according to the spokesman.

The Dutch insurance group noted in a press statement "after completion, Aegon will rank second in the Hungarian mandatory and third in the voluntary pension fund market".

The three largest pension managers in Hungary currently hold around 35% of all assets in the mandatory pension sector, according to last year's IPE Top 1000 list of pension funds in Europe.

The total number of pension managers in Hungary will be reduced to 17 following the acquisition.

AEGON entered the Hungarian pension fund market in 1992 when it acquired the formerly state-owned insurance company Állami Biztositó.

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