AUSTRIA – Austrian energy provider Verbund is looking for a new Pensionskasse for more than 3,500 of its employees for “cost and return optimisation”, the company told IPE.

In 2001, Verbund signed a contract with the Österreichische Pensionskassen (ÖPAG), which has since been renamed Valida, to outsource its company pension scheme with around €280m in assets.

The ÖPAG administered the Pensionskasse in a separate entity, the BAV Pensionskasse (Betriebliche Altersvorsorge Verbund), as a 100% subsidiary.

At the end of 2011, the BAV Pensionskasse had around 7,000 members and €411m in assets under management.

This also included around 2,500 employees of the University of Vienna, which joined the BAV Pensionskasse in 2009, as well as a few former subsidiaries of Verbund outsourced from the group over the years.

A Verbund spokeswoman confirmed that it had decided to terminate its contract with Valida and the BAV Pensionskasse, respectively, effective 31 December.

She said the decision had been “mutually agreed” and made in order to “optimise” costs and returns in light of the current market situation and regulatory environment.

“We are currently preparing a tender for a new Pensionskasse, which will be chosen over the next few months,” she added.

The Valida group, with more than €4.7bn in assets under management in its pension funds, is expected to participate in the tender with its own Valida Industrie Pensionskasse subsidiary.

Valida confirmed that the contract between the University of Vienna and the BAV Pensionskasse will “remain intact” even after the members working for Verbund, which make up the majority of pension assets in the fund, have left. 

Meanwhile, the APK multi-employer fund announced it has snapped up €240m in assets under management from the Pensionskasse of the Austrian chamber of commerce WKÖ.

This brings its total assets under management to approximately €3.2bn.

The WKÖ had come under pressure in 2011 when it came to light that the Pensionskasse for its 6,000 employees had invested in a real estate company that had to file for bankruptcy.