Assets under management at the Pensionskasse for the Swiss canton of Zurich (BVK) rose year-on-year in 2021 to CHF41.4bn (€39.9bn) from CHF37.9bn in 2020.

The investment strategy of the pension fund returned 8% on assets last year, up from 5.7% in the prior year. The funding ratio improved year-on-year from 105.3% in 2020 to 111.6% at the end of 2021.

In approximate terms, BVK allocated 28% of its assets to foreign equities, 18% to Swiss and foreign bonds, 16% to Swiss real estate, 6% to emerging market equities, 3% to foreign real estate and infrastructure, over 4% to Swiss equities, 4% to mortgages and 4% in liquidity, as of the end of December last year.

A more detailed breakdown of the asset allocation showed that BVK invested 4.4% of its assets in cash and money market investments, 4.1% in mortgages, 14.5% in Swiss bonds, 17.7% in bonds denominated in foreign currency, 9.3% in Swiss equities, 19.6% in foreign equities, 6.1% in emerging market equities, 3% in alternative investments (liquid), 3% in alternative investments (illiquid), 16% in Swiss real estate, 1.7% in real estate abroad, 0.3% in foreign currency hedging, according to the 2020 financial statement. Foreign currency exposure stood at CHF5.8bn.

Last year BVK increased the number of its members to 130,300, with 65% of the 91,000 actively insured members being women. The Pensionskasse will continue to apply an interest of 2% on pension savings, it said.

BVK is also committed to supporting responsible investing worldwide by actively participating in annual general meetings and promoting principles of good corporate governance with a network of partners in over 300 engagement activities.

VBV Pensionskasse cuts CO2 footprint

Austria’s VBV Pensionskassen has reduced the CO2 footprint of its equity portfolio by a further 17%, or 31,500 tonnes, and of its corporate bonds portfolio by around 40% or 81,300 tonnes in 2021.

The Pensionskasse has reduced its carbon footprint by a total of more than 240,000 tonnes of CO2 since 2016.

VBV Pensionskasse has realigned its equities and bonds portfolios to indices optimised in line with the Paris climate target, it said, adding that it extensively excluded fossil fuel companies.

“We have invested in companies in the field of climate protection and climate [related] technology,” said Günther Schiendl, member of the management board at the Pensionskasse responsible for asset management.

The pension fund’s assets grew by 6% year-on-year in 2021 to a total of €8.4bn.

The number of beneficiaries also increased in the previous year to 339,246. It counted 335,000 beneficiaries at the end of 2020 and took over 16,000 new pension beneficiaries and €500m in assets from Siemens.

The scheme recorded returns of 6.2% last year compared with 3.71% in 2020.

VBV Vorsorgekasse, in contrast, returned 3.8% last year, increasing assets under management by 12.5% to €5.4bn. It caters for around 2.8 million members.

Assets under management for the VBV group therefore increased year-on-year by 8.6% to €13.8bn.

Read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine.