ROMANIA – Double-digit returns helped push net assets in the Romanian second-pillar pension system to almost RON10bn (€2.2bn).

The nine funds in the second pillar returned 10.5% on average, according to the country’s pension fund association APAPR.

Assets grew to RON9.64bn – 50% more than at the end of 2011, the association said.

According to most recent statistics from 2006, the second pillar covers nearly 5.8m Romanians out of a total population of 19m, of which 10m are working.

Since inception in May 2008, funds in the second pillar have returned on average more than 11.4% annualised, the APAPR said.

The third pillar for voluntary private supplementary saving returned more than 9.9%, and the 11 funds in this pillar now manage RON600m.

Marius Popescu, chairman at the APAPR, said: “Looking back at 2012, it has been anything but easy. We’ve had four government Cabinets, a very tense political situation, a stagnating economy and very volatile financial markets.

“But even so, the funded pension system maintained stability and growth and consolidated its good results.”

For 2013, Popescu said he hoped for “a stable and predictable” legal framework for the pension system.

From this year, the mandatory contribution to the second pillar will increase from 3.5% to 4%.

For more on pensions in Central and Eastern Europe, see the January edition of IPE magazine.