SWITZERLAND - The Civil Service Insurance Fund of the Canton of Zurich, which has some 70,000 members came through last year’s turbulent markets satisfactorily, according to its chairman Christian Huber.
“With an overall performance of 0.8%, we were just able to evade the falling global market trends,” he says in the fund’s annual report. “Even if the results achieved in 2000 at first glance seem disappointing, they are completely satisfactory in the light of last year’s demanding market conditions.” In 1999, the fund had a return of 14.3%.
But there is likely to be an impact on the contributing membership of the CHF19.2bn fund, as a result of the income losses in 2002, no further premium reductions may be granted, Huber warns. In recent years, the fund had been able to reduce contributions for a limited time, as well as granting pension payment increases over and above the cost of living adjustments. The fund had over 53,000 active members and nearly 17,000 at the end of 2000.
Huber welcomed the change of the scheme’s rules converting it from defined benefit to defined contribution, saying it “provides the CSIF with increased transparency while making financing and benefits calculations more easily understandable”.
The fund is starting a process of separating itself legally from the Canton of Zurich in order to have a distinct existence, which would help shorten claims procedures and increase flexibility, he says.