ROMANIA - Private pension funds will change the financial landscape of Romania, accelerate the development of the equity and bond markets, according to the National Bank of Romania.

The bank's financial stability report for 2008 expects substantial growth in private pensions in the coming years, as reported on the Pensii Private website.

Romania's system is built on the same World Bank model as Poland, with private-sector providers competing for individuals' money in the mandatory pillar.

Assets from this source are worth €52m while the voluntary, third-pillar pensions will have about €25m by the end of this year, according to the pensions regulator.

Both forms of saving are less than a year old, however. One asset manager, BCR Asset Management, believes the second pillar alone will grow to €1.6bn by 2010 (see previous story 'Romanian pension assets to reach €224m by year end').

The latest entrant to the voluntary sector is likely to be Interamerican, which has applied for a licence for the Eureko Confort and Eureko Activ vehicles. Interamerican already runs the sixth-largest mandatory pension fund.