Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Allianz says accounting rules will hit pensions

LONDON (Reuters) - European companies might need to pump billions more euros into their pension funds to meet proposed new accounting rules, Allianz Global Investors said on Tuesday.

The implementation of Solvency II rules "could be the final nail in the coffin for defined benefit schemes" Brigitte Miksa, head of Allianz Global Investor's international pensions unit, told journalists at a meeting in London.

Funding for some schemes could have to rise by as much as 65 to 70 percent if pension schemes are subject to new regulations, analysis by Allianz showed.

Schemes may be forced to slash the amount of equities they hold and drop alternative investments, such as private equity and hedge funds, to try to reduce their funding gap under the new rules, Allianz said, as Solvency II would require schemes to hold more capital against riskier investments.

This would reduce investment returns and place a greater pressure on firms to make up the gap to meet pension promises made to employees.

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