SWITZERLAND - The French-speaking Swiss canton of Fribourg has agreed to work with the German-speaking canton of Bern to supervise Pensionskassen in a move the local press has dubbed the 'bridging of the Rösti Divide'.

Under a proposed structural reform, Swiss cantons will be able to club together to create regional supervisory agencies. Swiss canton of Solothurn goes solo on supervision

Until recently, market participants had predicted Bern and Fribourg would go it solo on supervision, as other cantons such as Solothurn have done.

A spokesperson for the supervisory agency of Fribourg confirmed to IPE that both cantons had decided to "intensify the cooperation" given the new legal framework created by the structural reform.

Meanwhile, the Swiss Pensionskassen association ASIP has harshly criticised the proposed structural reform, arguing that it will only create more bureaucratic red tape in its present form.

It said Pensionskassen had already put in place many of the governance rules using the binding ASIP Charta, and that the new regulations would only lead to higher administrative costs.

The association said many parts of the regulatory catalogue were "breathing the spirit of the government's need for control".

ASIP also said it wanted the staff and costs of the new Oberaufsichtskommission - the top supra-regional supervisory commission - to be slashed, arguing that the body's remit failed to justify the number of staff members currently employed.

Similarly, Herbert Brändli, head of the multi-employer Pensionskasse Profond, accused the government of using the new supervisory bodies to exert more control over asset allocation, financing and pension payouts while at the same time weakening the management boards at Pensionskassen.