AUSTRIA - Markus Zeilinger, former chairman of the board at the Bonus Pensionskasse and Mitarbeitervorsorgekasse (MVK), is setting up a new Vorsorgekasse for severance pay MVK.

The "fair-finance" MVK will be the 10th fund to manage assets in this mandatory sector of Austria's second-pillar retirement provision.

Every company has been required since 2003 to put part of employees' salaries into a fund which can be either used as additional pension income or taken out after three years at the earliest, under certain conditions.

As of January, a similar regulation has come into effect for self-employed and people without a regular working contract. (See earlier IPE story: Severance pay for self-employed).

Zeilinger hopes to win his first clients from from the 500,000 people this affects, but he also expects people already in an MVK to consider changing funds once a new player enters the market.

"We aim to attract clients with our concept of sustainable investments without minimising returns, a competitive fee structure as well as guaranteed annual rates," the former head of Bonus - winner of the IPE Austria Award for 2006 and 2007 - explained in an interview.

Furthermore, he wants to give clients a say in running the MVK via a panel they can join which then nominates two board members.

Günter Gruber, member of the board at the Austrian Bundespensionskaseen AG, and Max Deml, chief editor of German investment magazine "Ökoinvest" have agreed to join the management board and the supervisory board of fair-finance respectively. 

Deml will be joined by Helmut Eichert, chief executive of software company Oracle Austria, and Ingrid Reisch from the trade union for employees GPA.

Having already set up the holding company, Zeilinger is now finalising details for the creation of the MVK, and for which he might consider international partners.

The existing nine MVKs returned 3.58% in 2007 while assets under management increased from €1.128bn to €1.618bn over the last year, and membership grew from 2.1 million to 2.4 million people.

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