Austrian Pensionskassen returned more than 5.1% for 2013, mainly due to their exposure to equities.

According to data collected by the pension fund association FVPK, the 16 Austrian pension funds returned 5.14% for 2013, achieving an annual return of 5.6% since inception 23 years ago.

However, their performance is down against returns of more than 8% for 2012.

In total, Austrian pension funds are now managing €17.4bn in assets, an increase of almost 7% over 2012.

Andreas Zakostelsky, chairman of the FVPK, pointed out that pension funds’ exposure to equities was 35% last year, a “record high” since the start of the financial crisis.

He confirmed these investments were the main driver behind the performance.

As for bonds, which made up 56% of the portfolios on average, Zakostelsky said returns mainly came from fixed income issued by non-core European countries.

Exposure to Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain was between 8% and 10% of the total portfolio, while only two years ago investments in bonds from the region had been “below 1%”, the FVPK chairman said.

For 2014, Zakostelsky said he was optimistic the newly formed government, following elections in autumn last year, would place a greater focus on pensions.

“For the first time, it is set down in a government agenda that the pension commission is to look into all three pillars of the pension system,” he said.

He added that he viewed the acknowledgement as a “significant breakthrough” towards a “non-ideological, objective” way of approaching the issue of pensions.

Up until now, the first pillar fell under the remit of the Social Ministry, while funded pensions were the responsibility of the Finance Ministry.