Poland's first pension funds have been given regulatory permission to begin collecting contributions, following on from their licensing as asset managers during recent months to manage the new pensions money.
However ZUS the Polish social security computer system charged with transferring millions of accounts to investment managers will not begin paying out until the end of May - a two month delay on its already deferred launch date.
The system will commence though in a fashion on April 1, with the Polish government saying they will backdate interest to fund managers. AIG, Commercial Union WBH BPH, Nationale-Nederlanden Polska, PKO/Handlowy and PZU are the first groups to receive the full government green light for their funds, with the remaining nine licenced fund managers expected to follow shortly.
Five groups, Polsat, Daewoo Energetyka, Cigna BWE, Epoka and Raz-em are still awaiting their fund management licence to be ratified by the UNFE Polish administration board.
Adam Ka piza of ZUS comments: We are now looking at a mid-May launch, which is of course a slight revision on our previous estimates, but then again we did not have full legal authority to begin planning the switch until December last year. And I cannot say for certain that mid May will be the definite launch, because nothing is ever certain with such a complex logistical changeover."
Ian Ainscow, director of Commercial Union Investment Management, does not believe the delay will prove costly though: "All the deferral means is that we will not be paid so early by clients and revenues will come later than anticipated, which the Polish government has taken into account."
Companies are also busy registering around 100,000 canvassers who will sell their funds to Poles door to door, with some predictions that this figure could reach around 300,000.
Fears also abound that the regulatory body which is supposed to register the canvassers will be unable to cope with such demand in the month they have to verify applications."