Pension guarantee against law, says supervisor
AUSTRIA - The Austrian supervisor FMA has criticised ÖPAG Pensionskasse for offering guarantees in a recently-signed contract with the University of Vienna.
The University awarded a contract for pension services for its professors to BAV - a subsidiary of ÖPAG Pensionskasse - last summer.
Part of the tender as well as the contract was a guarantee on the contributions made to the pensionskasse which the ÖPAG offered.
However, the supervisor FMA has now urged the ÖPAG to change this part of the contract as guarantees were not part of the regulatory framework for Pensionskassen in Austria.
"We have to make sure that the Pensionskassen's own assets base remains intact and that a continued payout of pensions to all members is ensured and not just guaranteed for one member," explained a spokeswoman for the FMA.
He confirmed while pensionskassen can offer better conditions than the minimum regulatory standard it was the supervisor's remit to ensure that all liabilities can be met.
Commenting on the situation, a spokewoman for the University noted: "The BAV (supported by the Universität Wien) subsequently filed a complaint with the administrative and the constitutional court."
The FMA spokesperson confirmed "the courts will have to decide," though such a decision could take some time yet.
One other possibility is a change could be made to regulation as a pensionskassen reform commission is currently discussing the the existing second pillar and one point on the agenda is the introduction of guaranteed pension products by Pensionskassen.
However, insurance companies have pointed out they already offer a guaranteed pension product on the "Betriebliche Kollektivversicherung", an insurance-based pension solution.
"People should have the choice of switching from a pensionskasse into an insurance pension, for example once they reach a certain age," argued Wolfram Littich, chairman of the board at Allianz Austria.
He stressed both systems had their uses but stressed every member should have the right to decide for themselves.
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