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Bank Asya seeks Turkish pension fund growth.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Turkish Islamic lender Bank Asya announced on Monday a six-month progress report on its campaign to expand the number of private pension accounts in Turkey, where private retirement funds a rare but increasingly common practice.

Speaking to a gathering of journalists during a breakfast on Monday, Bank Asya's retirement accounts manager, ErcE-ment Korkut, stated that the bank has opened over 35,000 private retirement accounts since the pension fund was created in mid May, and added that by year's end the number of private pensioners covered by the bank would be around 41,000.

"The growth encourages us to predict that we can manage around 100,000 accounts in total by the year 2013," Korkut stated. Bank Asya is the first Islamic lender to start such a pension plan in Turkey, and manages the funds through interest free, Islamically sanctioned bonds known as sukuk.

Bank Asya is only the 17th bank in Turkey to offer private retirement accounts, which are valued at less than 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). In developed countries by contrast, the volume of national retirement accounts is often equal to the country's entire GDP. Korkut stated that tax incentives and a high level of return on the sukuk account will attract Turks living abroad and individuals who are not "necessarily interested in the Islamic aspect of Bank Asya, but simply interested in the stability of the account."

The Bank Asya retirement sukuk currently carries TL 21.6 million ($12.1 million) worth of assets, of which 46 percent comprise individual accounts, and 54 percent group accounts. The growth of the pension account comes as the bank itself sets an ambitious target for growth, with bank head Abdullah Ecelik stating earlier this month that the bank hopes to grow by 18 percent in 2013.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Dec 17, 2012
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