Assets under management (AUM) at the pension fund for lawyers in Italy, Cassa Forense, have increased robustly by 8.67% last year, reaching €17.63bn.

The scheme said in a statement that it boosted its assets last year by pursuing a prudent investment policy during a challenging year, and with a more stringent cost management approach.

It opted to strongly underweight risky asset classes, consequently resorting in the possibility of overweighting less risky ones. This led to tactical asset allocations diverting from its strategic asset allocation.

Cassa Forense was underweighted equity (25.6%), against a strategy target of 26%, while real estate stood at 12.7% against a strategic target of 13%, according to its 2023 financial statement.

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The operating surplus last year was over €1.4bn, recording a 39.9% growth compared to 2022, it added. Costs were contained without “spending review” obligations. The scheme’s operating costs, equal to approximately €35.1m in 2023, were 1.6% lower than in 2022, the statement disclosed.

Cassa Forense tightened the grip on costs as the number of members decreased by 1.3% year-on-year in 2023 to 236,946, while the number of pension payouts went from 30,986 in 2022 to 32,206 in 2023, it explained.

Costs for pension payouts amounted to approximately €1m, allocating over €68m for welfare benefits, including €33m for the protection of the health of members, of which €28m for health insurance policies, and €11m to support families.

The average income of scheme members increased by 5.3% to €44,654 over the year. Despite an increase recorded in terms of women’s income compared to men, the gender pay gap remains at 50%, it added.

Cassa Forense plans to implement “structural reforms” to guarantee the financial strength of the scheme over time in the face of demographic challenges, it said.

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