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Swiss lawmakers call for major changes to second-pillar pensions

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  • Swiss lawmakers call for major changes to second-pillar pensions

SWITZERLAND - Several members of the Swiss parliament have called on the government to simplify legislation regarding the second pillar and possibly change the legal form of Pensionskassen.

Planned changes to governance and supervisory regulations regarding Swiss Pensionskassen are currently in the consultation phase.

However, some parliamentarians fear the reform will complicate the law on the second pillar - the so-called BVG - even further, making it harder for Pensionskassen lay trustees to do their jobs.

In a motion to cut administration costs in the second pillar, MP Konrad Graber cited changes to investment regulations, the introduction of Swiss Gaap FER 26 accounting standards and other amendments as sources of added complexity.

Responding to the criticism, a government representative pointed out that studies into the efficiency and cost structure of the system had already been commissioned, with initial results expected in spring 2011.

The government also noted that it supported the motion in principle.

One other MP, Christine Egerszegi-Obrist, criticised the fact the new supervisory commission would be granted a staff of 30, which could lead to an additional increase in administration costs.

Meanwhile, Rolf Büttiker, MP and president of two Pensionskassen trustee boards, demanded the creation of a new legal framework for Pensionskassen, which are currently foundations under Swiss law.

According to Büttiker, there have already been studies into the possibility of creating a new hybrid between a listed company and a cooperative.

"The current legal framework has spread like cancer," he said, adding that regulations for Pensionskassen can now be found in many legal texts - from foundation law through second-pillar legislation to divorce laws.

He also criticised the fact there were different regulations for life insurers offering multi-employer Pensionskassen solutions and public or company pension funds.

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