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Swiss MP seeks to remove 'stigma' from infrastructure

Green MP Thomas Weibel, in a motion put forward to the Swiss government, has called for the introduction in the regulatory framework of a separate asset class for infrastructure.

He said a separate category should be introduced into the BVV2 investment regulation, instead of including the asset class within the “alternatives” category.

Together with 11 other MPs, Weibel proposed a 10% cap for infrastructure investments without altering the caps for other investments.

This change, he said, would remove the alternatives “stigma” from infrastructure, particularly with respect to supposedly high costs or lack of transparency.

He said a separate category for infrastructure would allow Pensionskassen to increase investments in sustainable projects in Switzerland and thereby provide the government with a “private financing partner”.

The MP also argued that infrastructure’s low correlation with other asset classes would help Pensionskassen achieve the necessary returns.

If average third-quarter results are any indication, new sources of return would be welcome at most Swiss Pensionskassen.

According to the UBS’s quarterly performance “barometer” for the second-pillar system, Swiss schemes lost more than 1.4% over the period.

Credit Suisse’s Pensionskassen index showed a similar average loss of 1.47%.

Both estimates were well below the legal minimum for mandatory pension fund contributions, currently at 1.75% but set to drop to 1.25% from next year. 

Year to date, the portfolios surveyed by UBS showed positive results from domestic bonds, real estate and hedge funds only.

According to Credit Suisse, equities, both foreign and domestic, were the worst performers over the period.

Liquidity positions also fared badly, due to the devaluation of the Swiss franc compared with foreign currencies, which triggered FX hedges.

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