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Austria’s biggest pension fund ‘adds €1.5bn to economy’

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VBV, Austria’s largest pension provider, adds €11m in value to the domestic economy, according to research – and this figure hits €1.5bn a year including the assets it invests in the country.

Austrian economic researcher Gottfried Haber reported the figures as part of a study commissioned by the €10.4bn VBV Group, which runs both Pensionskasse and Vorsorgekasse vehicles.

“As shown in our research, the added value Pensionskassen and Vorsorgekassen are creating for… Austria and the labour market is significant,” Haber said.

The overall added value was derived from the value that VBV created as an Austrian-based company, the money it invested in Austrian businesses, and the additional retirement income it generated, which allowed for more consumption by pensioners.

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The academic research also translated the added value into jobs directly and indirectly secured by VBV: Including investments in Austrian companies, the VBV’s activities secured more than 20,000 jobs in the country.

Overall, Austrian Pensionskassen currently manage around €22bn in assets. Provident funds, known as Vorsorgekassen, manage €11.5bn in total.

Pension income gap estimated at €770

Meanwhile, Austria’s second largest pension provider, the €9.4bn Valida Group, surveyed 2,000 employees on their retirement income outlook and found that only 13% of men and 7% of women thought they would be able to “live comfortably” from their state pension income upon retirement.

The vast majority believed the money from the first pillar would be too little. All respondents had difficulties estimating the gap between the income and their needs, however.

On average the ‘pension gap’ was valued at around €770 per person, per month. People between 30 and 40 had a more pessimistic estimate of over €900 a month.

Information on future retirement income from the first pillar is available in Austria upon request but the service is not widely used.

Martin Sardelic, chairman of the board at Valida Holding, called on the authorities to help people save in the second pillar.

For years, the pension fund industry in Austria has demanded a tax exemption for additional contributions made by employees to their pension plan. At the moment employer contributions are exempt from taxes and social contributions, but employee contributions are not.

Reforms in this area have been discussed by the previous government, and might have found its way into a planned tax reform – but the whole government resigned last month.

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