SWITZERLAND – The CHF8bn (€6.6bn) Aargauische Pensionskasse (APK) in Switzerland has estimated a preliminary return of “around 7%” for 2012.

In a statement, the fund cited equity holdings as the main driver for the result, which stood at 6.6% as at the end of November.

The scheme said the “very good” results on the stock exchange in 2012 had “more than offset” low interest rates and the strong Swiss franc.

Conversely, in 2011, the pension fund’s 25% equity exposure was the chief contributor to a 3.5% annual loss over the period.

The positive result for 2012 might be a first indicator of how the Swiss pensions industry as a whole fared over the year, as many schemes have similar equity exposures.

APK itself said 2012 was “bound to have been a good investment year for most Pensionskassen”.

According to the latest Swisscanto survey, published in the autumn of 2012, Swiss pension funds’ average equity exposure stood at 26%.

Swiss schemes generated 0% in returns on average in 2011.

At APK, the relatively strong return reported for 2012 helped increase the funding level to approximately 96%, according to initial estimates, compared with the 92% reported at the beginning of 2012.

However, this is still well below the 115% reported for 2008, as well as for the end of 2009 (99.8%) and the end of 2010 (98.9%).