SWITZERLAND – Credit Suisse Asset Management says its Swiss Pension Fund Index rose more than three percentage points in the fourth quarter, representing a rise in assets of around 12 billion Swiss francs (7.7 billion euros).

“In the fourth quarter of 2003, the CSAM Swiss Pension Fund Index recovered ground for the third quarter running – up by an impressive 3.06 percentage points from 95.80 to 98.86,” CSAM said.

It said the figure represents an increase in assets of around 12 billion francs. Since the index’s low of March 2003, total assets have risen by around 40 billion francs.

Such a number corresponds to around 10% of Switzerland’s gross domestic product in 2002. The index is now 1.14 percentage points below its initial 100 value of December 1999, the point of “nominal capital preservation”.

The index rose 9.25% in 2003.

CSAM said the objective now is for the index to be able to get back in step on a cumulative basis with the minimum interest rate curve or to surpass it.

It calculates that if the minimum interest rate of 2.25%, in place since the start of this year, remains constant then this gap could be closed within two years – though this was an “extremely optimistic scenario”.

Assuming an index performance of half the 2003 rate, then the recovery would take more than six and a half years.