SPAIN - Spanish pension funds' assets increased by 2.1% in 2010 due to higher contributions coming from individuals and companies, the Investment and Pension Funds Association (INVERCO) has said.

According to INVERCO, pension plans' assets stood at €84.6bn at the end of the first half, with contributions in the past 12 months amounting to €5.4bn and retirement benefits €4.2bn.

Individual pensions increased their asset volume by 0.8% over the last 12 months to €51.9bn, while corporate pension plans saw their assets rise to €31.7bn, with a 4.4% jump compared with last year. 

Meanwhile, the OECD said in its annual pension fund report that the Social Security Reserve Fund increased its assets by 7.3% in 2010, way above the average recorded by other similar funds in other countries (5%).

The reserve fund's real net investment returns fell from 4.9% in 2009 to 2.1 % in 2010.

According to the OECD, Spain was one of the few countries that had implemented "major changes" in its investment strategies.

The reserve fund increased its allocation to Spanish public bonds to 87% in 2009 compared with 55% in 2008.

Finally, the Governing Council approved this week the draft law on Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (EPSV), which aims to ensure the sustainability of social insurance and pensions.

The law seeks to foster complementary social security for citizens of the Basque Country and other workers in Spain, as well as promote a special collective system.

The new regulations - which will introduce accounts in which both employers and employees can contribute - update the law introduced in the Basque country 27 years ago.

The Basque country recorded 191 Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies as of December 2010, with more than €19.2bn in assets.