Fondo Espero, the Italian pension fund for school employees, is planning to review its strategic asset allocation to set up a new ‘Dinamico’ sub-fund for higher risk investments, and a life cycle investment option.

The scheme’s board of directors has decided to review its strategic asset allocation, with a view to setting up the new investment options, following the introduction of the silent-consent (silenzio-assenso) clause, to tacitly divert employees’ severance payments to the pension fund.

Fondo Espero signed an agreement to introduce the silent-consent rule last year, meaning that employees in the public administration, with a permanent contract, hired after 1 January 2019, automatically allocate their severance pay (Trattamento di Fine Rapporto, TFR) to the pension fund, if they don’t actively choose to become members of the scheme.

The fund has followed the same path as Fondo Perseo-Sirio, the scheme for employees in the public administration and health sector in Italy.

Espero considers essential to start assessing “the consistency of the reference population” with its strategic asset allocation, with a view to diversifying its investment portfolio, it said in its 2023 financial statement.

Over 70% of the pension fund’s members are over 50 years of age, as a result of the extension of the retirement age and a precarious labour market. In 2023, the number of members increased by more than 3% to reach a total of 101,592, according to the statement.

Fondo Espero expects to see the impact of the silent-consent rule on contributions only at the tail end of this year, more likely during 2025, it said.

The pension fund’s assets, total around €1.41bn, are currently split into the sub-fund ‘Garanzia’, where contributions of those who explicitly chose the sub-fund, and severance payments (TFR) under the silent-consent clause, in addition to the sub-fund ‘Crescita’, which has a medium risk profile.

The largest share (82%) of total assets is managed in the ‘Crescita’ sub-fund, and 18% in the ‘Garanzia’, the statement added.

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