Direct sales activities will be scaled back for Valida Vorsorge Management’s Pensionskassen business as part of a re-structuring, according to Stefan Eberhartinger, the group’s new chief executive.
Valida Vorsorge Management is the holding comprising the Valida Pensionskasse, the Valida Vorsorgekasse and a consultancy.
Speaking with IPE, Eberhartinger said: “The market is currently too small, and active sales produce too little margins.”
He confirmed that Valida would continue to take part in tenders, however, and serve clients who come to the group.
He also stressed that the company “would be ready” should demand increase in the Austrian occupational pensions market.
For the Vorsorgekasse, Eberhartinger said he wanted to invest in a sales strategy, as this was a market “guaranteed to grow”.
In Austria, each employer must pay part of an employee’s salaries into a Vorsorgekasse, or provident fund, to provide for a future severance payment upon leaving the company.
Eberhartinger was appointed to Valida’s board of directors last year to assist with a revamp of its administration.
Last week, it was announced that former chief executive Andreas Zakostelsky would focus on his political role as an MP and his position as head of the Pensionskassen association FVPK.
New chief executive Eberhartinger is to focus on the Pensionskassen and consultancy side of the business.
He will share the board with Albert Gaubitzer, who will focus mostly on the Vorsorgekassen business and IT.
Eberhartinger told IPE his new job was a “completely new role”.
“So far, I have always built pension fund businesses from scratch, but now I have to streamline an existing pension fund business,” he said.
Eberhartinger said a wide-ranging “streamlining” process, taking “at least 3-5 years to complete”, would cover the actuarial accounting of individual pension portfolios of a company.
Currently, this is handled by four different people, depending on how a client comes to Valida – via a direct sale, for example, or as a former consultancy client that transfers its pension fund.
The new strategy will require new client-relationship management, Eberhartinger said, to ensure a “single face to the customer” policy.
The new chief executive confirmed that, over the long term, his aim was to integrate Valida’s two Pensionskassen – one being the former Siemens Pensionskasse now known as Valida Industrie – into a single entity.
He also wants to exploit more “synergies” with Valida shareholder Raiffeisen, “where it is reasonable and cheaper”, which will also mean representatives will hold seats on the supervisory board of Valida subsidiaries.
The chairs on the supervisory boards of the Valida subsidiares vacated by Zakostelsky will, however, be filled by Eberhartinger and Gaubitzer themselves, respectively.