The market for state-sponsored retirement provision (PZV; prämienbegünstigte Zukunftsvorsorge), a product for discretionary old age provision, has developed negatively over the years since the state premium was cut significantly in 2012, as well as due to the its unattractive investment performance in the low interest environment. From record levels of more than 1.6 million back in 2012, the number of PZV contracts has fallen year in year out, and for the 2021 reporting year, the number of contracts fell below the one million mark (967,000) for the first time since 2006. Approximately 88,000 contracts matured or were terminated in the past year, only offset slightly by a very low number of new contracts (7,797). This represented a fall by 7.7% compared with the previous year. Since the PZV is a product with very long terms, the annual inflow of premiums, despite a fall of -3.7% compared with the previous year, nevertheless remained at a notable level with a nominal amount of € 739 million. The total assets managed in this insurance product rose during the reporting year to a new record amount of almost € 9.38 billion (2020: € 8.96 billion, 2019: € 9.03 billion, 2018: € 8.54 billion). These are the findings of the annual FMA Study on “The market for state-sponsored retirement provision in 2021”.
Good investment performance
The volume-weighted investment performances (before costs) of + 8.3%, in line with the very positive performance of the capital market during the reporting year, was close to the all-time highest values of +/-10%. The hypothetical “stylised benchmark portfolio” which has been calculated by the FMA for many years for comparison purposes (30% Austrian shares and 70% Austrian ten year government bonds) however performed even better, with performance of + 10.8% during the same period.
Since 2012, when the state premium for promoting PZV products was halved, it is now 4.25%, with the maximum state-sponsored deposit standing at € 3,056.94 in 2021 (cf. € 2957.80 in 2020) with a resulting maximum premium of € 129.92. While the premium has increased for the tenth year in a row, it still remains significantly below its all-time high of € 210.35 in 2009. As a state-sponsored old-age pension product the legislator obliged providers to at least guarantee the safeguarding of the paid-in nominal premiums.
Number of providers continuing to fall
Since investment fund management companies have no longer been selling new PZV contracts for over ten years already (and all of their contracts have also already matured in the mean time), out of the 19 insurance undertakings that offered this product during its boom phase, only four were still offering the conclusion of new contracts in 2021. Since the second largest provider discontinued selling PZV products during the course of the reporting year, in the mean time 80% of new contracts are concluded by the largest provider in the market. The full report can be found on the FMA website (in German only) at https://www.fma.gv.at/publikationen/studie-praemienbeguenstigte-zukunftsvorsorge/
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