SWITZERLAND - More and more small Pensionskassen will be considering joining a collective scheme according to the Swiss pension fund association, ASIP, but it sees no preference towards insurance-based or autonomous schemes.

One representative of an autonomous collective scheme indicated to IPE that smaller Pensionskassen prefer insurance schemes over autonomous collective schemes because of the guarantees insurers can offer.

However, Hans Peter Konrad, managing director of ASIP, told IPE that he did not see this as the ultimate trend within the market.

"While fully insurance-based schemes are offering guarantees these are not to be had for free," he said.

He added that autonomous collective schemes were "well established" in the market, as they offered "good, flexible retirement provision solutions" and were also cost-efficient.

Konrad stressed that for ASIP both insurance-based and autonomous schemes had positive and negative aspects and that every pension scheme needed to decide for itself if it wished to join a collective scheme.

"[It is] very likely that, mainly very small Pensionskassen, will increasingly consider whether independence still pays off, or whether it might be more efficient to join a collective scheme." Konrad added.

He mentioned mergers and acquisitions as another source of consolidation in the Swiss Pensionskassen market, which currently comprises several thousand pension schemes under the mandatory system.

Only last week, a government-backed study called for a "drastic" simplification of the Swiss second pillar.