The first-pillar pension scheme for veterinarians in the German regional authority of Westfalen-Lippe has entered into a co-operation agreement with its counterpart for doctors, an arrangement said to provide “cost-efficient” access to investments “beyond the mainstream”. 

The agreement between the two Versorgungswerke – institutions that fund first-pillar pensions for the so-called liberal professions in Germany – covers investment, risk management and risk controlling.

The agreement is effective 1 July.

From then on, according to a statement, the €10.3bn* doctors pension fund (Ärtzeversorgung Westfalen-Lippe, ÄVWL) will invest on behalf of the veterinarians fund as it would for its own assets, to the extent that this fits with the investment policy of the pension funds for vets.

The new arrangement will give the latter “cost-efficient access to more complex investment opportunities beyond the ‘mainstream’”, such as financing of ships and aeroplanes in the logistics transport industry or direct investment in infrastructure and renewable energy.

The veterinarians’ pension fund (Versorgungswerk Tierärztekammer Westfalen-Lippe, VW TKWL) has some €300m in assets under management.

It had since 2005 used the traditional industry bank for doctors and pharmacists in Germany, Apo-Bank (Deutsche Apotheker- und Ärtzebank) for investment and risk-controlling services, according to a 2013 annual report.

The Versorgungswerk for dentists in Westfalen-Lippe had been carrying out risk management, according to the same report.

The new co-operation agreement with the doctors’ pension fund is a response to the challenges posed by the continued low-interest-rate environment, with “standard investments” unable to deliver yields in line with discount rates.   

Co-investing alongside the doctors’ pension fund will reduce the administrative burden, the Versorgungswerke said in the statement.

Responsibility for all aspects of the co-operation lies with the veterinarians’ pension fund, it added.

Westfalen-Lippe is one of the two regional authorities in the western German federal state of North Rhine Westphalia.

*As at 31 December 2014