SLOVAKIA - The six pension fund companies managing mandatory funds for Slovakia’s second pillar posted a positive return for the first quarter of 2009.

Between the first week of January and the first week of April the value of pension assets increased by 0.5%.

For 2008 the funds reported a decline of -3.8%. (See earlier IPE story: Fico set to change pension fund fee structure)

The six companies are now managing €2.44bn in total assets compared to €2.23bn at the end of 2008.

Meanwhile, rating agency Fitch affirmed the Republic of Slovakia’s long-term long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default ratings (IDR) at ‘A+’, outlook stable.

One of the reasons for this decision was Slovakia’s pension system:

“Reform of the public pension system has placed Slovakia in a stronger position than many euro area members to cope with the long-term costs of an ageing population,” said Fitch in a statement.

“However, should recent government policies to undermine participation rates in the second-pillar pension scheme continue, there is a risk that this relative strength could be eroded over the medium-term.

Having tried to persuade Slovaks to opt-out of the second pillar, Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico now wants to slash current basic fees for pension funds from 0.065% to 0.025% and introduce a performance-related fee.