SWITZERLAND – Performance measurement firm InterSec says Swiss pension fund portfolios rose nine percent in 2003 and three percent in the fourth quarter.

InterSec also noted a shift during the year towards equities and away from bonds.

Last month Credit Suisse Asset Management said 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). And CSAM said the measure was up 9.25% in 2003.

InterSec said full year 2003 results “showed a clear upwards trend”. It said the median manager in its so-called ‘balanced universe’ returned nine percent while the InterSec Balanced Benchmark, or IBB, was up 9.3%.

The median rise for the fourth quarter was three percent and 3.3% for the IBB.

"We had some ups and downs in 2003," said Peter Leutenegger, vice president of marketing and sales at InterSec Switzerland.

“But the bottom line is, that the Swiss pension funds performed excellently and returned – in terms of return figures – to the level of 1998/99.”

InterSec said the Swiss equities universe returned +22.0% for 2003 and that the global equities universe returned +13.2%, compared to a decline of 35.0% in 2002.

“These results can be partially attributed – besides the stronger markets in general in 2003 - to a slight, but steady shift from bonds to equities during 2003, as the universe attribution in the balanced universe shows,” InterSec said in a release.

It said that the first quarter of 2003 saw 33.7% in equities and 59% in bonds. By the end of 2003 there were 37.3% in equities and 52.9% in bonds.