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Pension Funds, the Pension Funds Act of 1990 is the legal basis for the introduction of pension funds as the "second pillar" of the old age and survivors' social security system, the first one being the national pension insurance. Pension funds are established as public limited companies and are licensed by the Federal Ministry of Finance. There are two different types of pension funds: company and inter-company pension schemes. Employers and pension funds sign contracts which are based on the company pension deals concluded between the employer and the staff works council. This contract lays down the amounts of contribution payments paid by the employer and by the employees, it also regulates the types of capital investment allowed (in the context of certain legal restrictions). As regards insurance and investment risks respecting the paid-in capital, the members (contributors and beneficiaries) of a Pension Fund form an investment and risk-sharing association (or several associations). The kind and amount of the benefit the individual member will draw depends on the benefit formula used in the company agreement, which is based on the Company Pensions Act. This Act governs all forms of pension commitment on the part of an employer, irrespective of whether such commitment is made by the employer establishing or joining a pension fund, by direct promises of benefit payments, or by the employer taking out life insurance for the benefit of his/her employee(s). Further basic provisions of the Company Pensions Act are the non-forfeitability of the benefits in case of termination of employment and the limited revocability of pension commitments already granted, as well as a number of binding protection clauses.

Guide to important life insurance site