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For the first time, the Histadrut labor federation is to found an investment company, which will manage about NIS 50 billion. The investment firm will not initially manage the entire amount, but will accumulate it gradually, at a rate of NIS 5 billion to NIS 10 billion every few months.

Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini said in an interview with MarkerWeek, TheMarker's weekend magazine to be published tomorrow: "We intend to cooperate with a large publicly traded company in Israel or a financial company overseas, which will provide optimal services."

The Histadrut has already begun recruiting consultants to this end.

Eini said that although the Histadrut lost control of the pension funds in 2003 as a result of the treasury's decision to nationalize them, "we have control in continuing education (histalmut) funds and company provident funds in which nearly NIS 50 billion has accumulated. These funds are currently invested through the banks, mainly through Bank Hapoalim and Bank Yahav."

According to Eini, the Haverim U'Marvichim company, involved in the past in issuance of tenders in the pension sector, "will cease to operate in this field, and instead a pension department in the Histadrut will be established. In addition, an investment company will be founded, so the Histadrut, which includes 700,000 members, will be a major player in the capital market."

Eini also said the Histadrut is initiating company pension funds in places of employment where they are lacking, following the model of the ports: "First and foremost, we want to operate pension funds for employees in the public sector who currently have a state-supported pension plans. This pension plan has an actuarial debt of NIS 300 billion, and I wouldn't depend on it solely. The new company funds will provide social security to employees, so they don't find themselves one day in the same position as Bikur Holim hospital retirees, who are nearly starving."