Compulsory pension funds (Pillar II) generated, since the moment they were launched in May 2008, a net gain of more than EUR 1 bln for the participants in the system, according to an analysis of the Romanian Association for Private Pensions (APAPR), based on figures provided by managers and the National House for Public Pensions (CNPP), wall-street.ro reports. The gain generated by the investments of private pension funds represents the net sum of all commission fees charged over this time interval. Romanians had even bigger contributions to the facultative private pension funds (Pillar III), in the first quarter of 2012. This evolution was supported also by the favourable expansion of the fiscal deductibility regime applied to the contributions of employers to Pillar III, starting January 1st. Almost 10,000 Romanians started contributing for the first time, for a facultative pension, in Q1 this year, with the total number reaching an approximate 270,000. The sums contributed by participants to the facultative personal pension accounts increased by 14 pc during the first quarter of this year, against a year ago, while the total assets managed by facultative pension funds exceeded RON 483 M. In total, the net assets administered by all private pension funds (Pillar II + Pillar III) reached RON 7.75 bln at the end of March, i.e. EUR 1.77 bln, or 1.27 pc of the GDP. The number of Pillar II participants exceeded 5.6 million at the end of March 2012, representing an increase by 6.3 pc (330,000 more participants) compared to end-March 2011. In Q1 2012, the number of newcomers to the system – about 87,000 – was equal to that of Q1 2011.