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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: August 2009

Case 8 - Pensions funds

Summary

Case

A pension fund for employees of a company, that provides a specified benefit upon retirement, has been running for several years. Both the employer and the employees make contributions to the fund. The managers of the fund are of the opinion that there is a surplus of funds as a result of successful investments.

a. Can the employer suspend making contributions?

b. To whom does the surplus belong?

Discussion

AUSTRIA

An employees' pension fund that provides a specified benefit upon retirement, several years after the employer and the employee have made contributions to the fund, is not a ‘pension fund’ according to the Austrian Investment Fund Act. However, Austrian private law recognises alternative concepts that meet the requirements described in Case 8. These alternatives are based on a specific statute called the Betriebspensionsgesetz (BPG). There are basically three pension fund schemes under s. 2 BPG.

The first scheme is called Pensionskasse (s. 2 Z 1 BPG). This pension scheme is an insurance solution that allows the employer to organise the insurance entity. The insurance entity has its own legal personality based on a specific statute, the Pensionskassengesetz (PKG). Both the employer and the employee pay contributions to the insurance entity on behalf of the employee. The employees can claim benefits upon retirement, regardless of whether they still have an employment contract with the same employer.

The second pension fund scheme is a direct promise pension (direkte Leistungszusage) (s. 2 Z 2 BPG).