SWITZERLAND - A survey of over 400 Swiss pension funds conducted by Swisscanto has found two-thirds of public schemes and 20% of private plans were underfunded at the end of 2009.

The average funding level for private pension funds increased by 7.3 percentage points to 104.3% last year and by 6 percentage points to 91.9% for public pension funds.

Swisscanto pointed out that the recovery of funding levels was mainly thanks to a recovery in the equity markets.

The asset manager calculated an average weighted pension fund return of 9.6% for 2009, which is below the average reported by Credit Suisse and State Street. (See earlier IPE story: Swiss pension returns average 11% in 2009)

However, Swisscanto pointed out that the calculation of the return was a conservative estimate, as it was based on the 2008 year-end asset allocation with a low equity quota.

"But it can be assumed that the Pensionskassen, after having reduced [equities] in 2008, increased their equity quota again in 2009," said the asset manager.

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