The association of Swiss pension actuaries has recommended that Switzerland maintain the so-called technischer Zins – the discount rate used by Pensionskassen – at 3%.
However, many Swiss pension funds have already cut their rates, or are preparing to cut them from next year – such as the CHF36bn (€29.4bn) scheme Publica, which announced a cut to 2.75% some time in 2015.
According to Swiss consultancy Complementa, three out of four Pensionskassen have already applied a rate of 3% or less, with some, such as the Migros Pensionskasse (MPK), adopting a rate as low as 2.5%.
Swiss consultancy ppcmetrics said it expected the government’s expert panel to “hone in” on the 2.5% level in the coming years.
For its calculations, the actuary association considered the average performance of a benchmark portfolio over a given period, moving this along each year.
This means higher performances reported in the mid-1990s were dropped, leading to a lower average.
One-third of the calculations was based on Swiss government bonds, which are now trending downward.
Ppcmetrics said it expected the association to recommend a cut in the discount rate to 2.75% at the end of 2015 and another cut to 2.5% two years’ later.
With a lower discount rate, pension funds might also have to adjust their future promises on conversion rates, known as Umwandlungssatz.
However, without the changes planned as part of the Altersvorsorge 2020 reform package, some smaller funds that only manage mandatory assets might not have the chance to go below the legal minimum conversion rate, which is currently 6.8%.