GERMANY - The MetallRente pension fund saw its assets grow from €781m to €1bn in 2007, despite a negative return of -2.6%.

MetallRente has reported it saw the highest increase in membership numbers in the last 12 month, since its inception in 2002, as 57,000 new contracts were signed last year - 43% more than the year before - bringing total numbers to 250,000.

Contribution inflows of  €51m from new members were 13% above those in 2006.

The new collective agreement for workers in the metal industry has given occupational retirement provision a boost, explained Heribert Karch, chief executive of MetallRente, a scheme open for employees from various indusrtries including metal, electronic, textile and plastic.

"We are glad our pension fund seems to have profited from this more than others," he added.

The fund noted in December alone there was a negative return of -1.6% bringing the annual return on investments to -2.6% and the three-year annual return to 8.1%.

"The DJ Stoxx Sustainability Index was down 1.6% and the bond index JP Morgan EMU lost 0.3% in December", the fund commented on the performance of its portfolio, which has around 50% equity exposure on average.

MetallRente offers various retirement vehicles including a Pensionsfonds, a Pensionskasse and Direktversicherung.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email