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Voluntary pension-fund profit grows in Q1

Voluntary pension-funds in Hungary posted profit of HUF 43.2 billion (€154.04 million) in the first quarter of 2010, a U-turn from the loss of HUF 45.869 billion in Q1 2009, though membership fees for such funds declined by 24.7% yr/yr to HUF 17.433 billion - a six-year low - in Q1, financial-market regulator PSZÁF said in its latest statistics.

Membership fees declined because non-wage benefits paid by companies to employees have been taxed at a 25% rate from the beginning of this year, analysts say.

The number of members in voluntary pension-funds in Hungary declined by 7,519 to 1.32 million in the first quarter.

Membership in such funds has dropped every quarter since Q4 of 2008 partly as a result of the possibility to opt back into the state pension system.

The voluntary pension-funds managed an all-time record HUF 839.76 billion on March 31, 2010, up 30.2% from Q1 last year. In their portfolios, Hungarian government bonds constituted almost one-third of this sum, while investment coupons and company shares composed a further 23%.

Operative revenues of the funds declined 6% yr/yr to HUF 1.19 billion in Q1 while the funds cut operative costs 15.4% to HUF 1.27 billion. (MTI-Econews)