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New Swiss postal scheme returns -3.1% in first year

SWITZERLAND – The Swiss post office workers’ pension scheme says it lost 3.1% in its first year – though it says there is no cause for concern at the moment.

Established in January last year, the fund is one of Switzerland’s largest, with 53,000 contributing and 20,000 pensioners.

The loss of 3.1% or 860 million Swiss francs (557 million euros) is in line with losses of many other pension funds, says a spokesman, and is a “satisfactory result given the difficult climate.”

Liability cover has fallen to 92.9%, but the fund says there is no urgent need to reorganise. The 1.028 billion Swiss francs (666 million euros) lost, it says should be compensated by the government. If the government does not make up the shortfall, and provide extra for a reserve, then the financial situation of the fund could be critical. 3.4 billion Swiss francs (2.2 billion euros) are required by the Post Office for balance sheet purposes.

With forecasts for 2003 uncertain, however, the board and management of the fund will be discussing with pension experts measures to compensate the losses of 2002, and ensure financial balance within the fund.

The 10 billion Swiss franc (6.5 billion euro) fund is managed by 15 managers. As of the end of 2002, 22% was invested in equities.

The spokesman said the fund's investment committee would be looking at whether to invest in alternative investments at the end of the year.

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