Strong Q3 returns help Swiss schemes improve funding
Swiss pension funds have raised funding levels after posting 2% average returns over the third quarter.
According to the latest Towers Watson Swiss Pension Finance Watch, the average return since the beginning of the year now stands at 5.7%.
Compared with the quarter previous, the funding level for the consultancy’s benchmark model pension fund improved by 100 basis points to 99.1% over the period.
Towers Watson also pointed to the slight decline in the discount rate and subsequently marginal increases in liabilities over the third quarter as a further boost to funding.
But Peter Zanella, managing director at Towers Watson Switzerland, warned companies and pension funds “not to get lazy” and called on them to continue de-risking.
In the latest Swisscanto Pensionskassen study (available in German and French), PPCmetrics highlights the growing risk of “misinterpreting” the ever-expanding body of second-pillar data.
The Swiss consultancy said the risk-based funding level it developed painted a much more “heterogeneous” picture of the funding landscape.
It said its data even identified a pension fund with 100% funding and a 0% risk-based funding level when technical parameters and demographics were taken into account.
On average, the risk-based funding level is several hundred basis points lower than the other, but the consultancy took pains to stress the significance of the “heterogeneity”, with risk-based funding levels ranging from 0% to 175%, and most Pensionskassen near the 100% mark.