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Commission agrees to bail out Swiss pension fund SBB

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SWITZERLAND - The financial commission of the Swiss national assembly (Nationalrat) has agreed to a CHF1.1bn (€860m) bailout for the pension fund of Swiss federal railway company SBB.

Last March, the government decided to grant the heavily underfunded pension fund CHF1.15bn in financial aid.

Now, the financial commission of the larger house of the Swiss parliament has agreed to the bailout plan, arguing that the SBB "cannot recover on its own" and that the federal government, being SBB's owner, had a responsibility.

Several members stressed that the bailout had to be the "last support measure of its kind".

Last year, a request by Ascoop, the partly state-owned public transport service provider, for a similar bailout was rejected.

The commission also said there were "no alternatives" to the suggested bailout plan, adding that the main financial burden would be carried by the SBB pension fund and its members.

Before Christmas, the smaller house of the Swiss parliament (Ständerat) had passed the proposal. The Nationalrat is scheduled to vote on it in early March.

The SBB Pensionskasse was given the IPE country award for Switzerland in 2010, which it shares with the Rolex pension fund. ABN AMRO wins IPE's top European pension fund award

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