No fee boost for Swiss TV pension fund, government says
SWITZERLAND - The CHF2bn (€1.4bn) Pensionskasse PKS for the Swiss public broadcasting company SRG SSR has returned to full funding and will not receive additional money from TV license fees to build reserves, the federal government has said.
Last year, the fund returned 13.7%, pushing the funding level back to exactly 100% from 90% at year-end 2008.
Legally, the fund's trustees were obliged earlier this year to scrap recovery measures like additional contributions from the employer - in this case, the state - or employees, as such measures can be taken by only under-funded Pensionskassen.
Similarly, the federal government decided the CHF14m the fund had applied for last year were no longer needed - this additional contribution might have made an increase of TV license fees necessary.
Gertrud Stoller-Laternser, chief executive of the media pension fund, told IPE: "The PKS is now facing the challenge of building reserves over the next years."
She added there were currently no plans for any "special measures".
However, in the SRG SSR's annual report, which had been compiled before the decision to abandon recovery measures was made, questions on the sustainability of the funding level were raised.
It said: "Because of the narrow and by no means sustainable full funding of the Pensionskasse and because of unpredictable developments on the financial markets, the remaining reserves of CHF20.3m will be retained (on the company's books)."
Last year, the broadcasting company had paid an initial CHF5m into the pension fund.
At a conference in Zürich earlier this year, Stoller-Laternser pointed out her fund did not make any major changes to its asset allocation over the last year. (see earlier IPE story: Most Swiss trustees held their nerve during the crisis)