AUSTRIA - The Austrian branch of international group Siemens is planning to turn its Pensionskasse into a multi-employer fund.

That makes the €765m Pensionskasse, which has 24,500 members, the seventh multi-employer fund in Austria.

That said, the aim is not to gain more members for the fund but to solve organisational problems following a restructuring of the group, IPE learnt from a source familiar with the subject.

Siemens Austria is currently working on outsourcing several non-core businesses, details of which are still being negotiated.

Turning the Pensionkasse into a multi-employer fund was chosen as the best way to continue managing pensioners and active members which will be in outsourced departments.

This solution was preferred over transferring those members into an existing multi-employer fund.

The Siemens fund will be open for use by other companies should they wish to join but Siemens will not actively be seeking new members.

Siemens already has some experience in managing retirement funds for non-Siemens employees as the company set up a so-called provision fund (Vorsorgekasse).

Every company in Austria has been required since 2003 to put a certain sum of money aside for every employee as a severance pay and this money has to be invested by one of the nine Vorsorgekassen, of which Siemens is one.

By law, these Vorsorgekassen have to be multi-employer funds.

Moreover, the Vorsorgekassen were also opened to self-employed people at the beginning of this year and they were given until the end of September to choose a fund, whereas employees had to go with their employer's choice of fund. (See earlier IPE-story: Severance pay for self-employed)