TURKEY - Turkey's new individual pension system is experiencing exponential growth, according to officials.

"Despite its being based on the principle of voluntary participation , our country's individual pension system appears to be gathering more and more acceptance in the two years that have passed since it was launched," said Treasury Undersecretary Ibrahim Halil Canakci.

"One of the most important features of the private pension system is that every new participant that joins the system adds a new stream, of at least 10 to 20 years' duration, to the already existing flow of contributions from the other participants ," the official said in a report on the system in 2005.

"In this way, the pool of funds grows exponentially as the number of participants in the system increases. When the individual pension system's year-end figures from 2004 and 2005 are compared with one another , the impact of this exponential growth is clearly visible."

Total contributions into the system in the 12 months to the end of last year amounted to about $700m - three and a half times the $200m level in 2004. And the total pool of funds went from $225m to $925m.

Canakci foresees a "several-fold increase" in the number of corporate participants.

Canakci also referred to plans to amend the pension system's actuarial parameters – these included changes to retirement age, replacement rates and eligibility criteria.

Elsewhere, Fortis has named Yvan De Cock to take over as chief executive of its Turkish division, the former Disbank. He'll replace Tayfun Bayazit, who becomes chairman of the unit.