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MP quizzes Swiss postal scheme

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SWITZERLAND- A Swiss MP who last month questioned finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz on the Pensionskasse Post postal scheme has said he is prepared continue the debate.

Ruedi Lustenberger had quizzed Merz on the lack of “opening balance” for the CHF11bn (€ 7.1bn) scheme.

Lustenberger, a member of the Christian-Democratic Popular Party CVP, pointed out last month that the scheme had not published the balance when it spun off the public employees’ pension fund in 2002. That scheme has been known as PUBLICA since 2003.

Lustenberger argued during a session on PUBLICA that any private pension fund would have been required to give a clear statement of its assets when it started.

The MP asked when the fund would publish its balance - and to what extent the federal council and parliament would exercise the role of supervisors.

Lustenberger told IPE he was expecting an answer to his queries during the next parliament session, in March.

He added that if he did not get a satisfactory response, he would go on questioning and would also be prepared to start a debate.

Andres Haueter, head of asset management at Pensionskasse Post, declined to comment on Lustenberger’s questions.

According to a report of the Federal Treasury on public debt between 1990 and 2004, the “re-financing” of Pensionskasse Post started in 2002 and ended in 2004.” At the end of 2006, there will only be CHF55m to pay back” the report says.

The report also stated that in 2004 the pension found would have needed CHF3.6bn.

According to Pensionskasse Post’s website, the fund’s investment strategy in 2004 has included allocations to domestic bonds (45%), foreign bonds (5%), domestic and foreign equity (15 and 20%) as well as real estate (15%).

The funds also reports on its website that performance in 2003 amounted to 8.31%.

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