SWITZERLAND - The Swiss multi-employer pensionskasse Publica has been granted the right to set up a pension fund for its own staff.

Publica, which is a collective pension fund for various federal organisations -  including universities and utility companies - was turned into an independent organisation in 2003 when it was spun off from the Swiss finance ministry.

As another step in the outsourcing process, its 140 employees will no longer be part of the "Vorsorgewerk Bund", the pension fund for administrative staff of the federal government, which is itself part of the Publica fund.

Instead, Publica will create a pension fund for its own employees which will also be integrated under the Publica roof.

"It makes sense to now get the freedom to be granted the right to make our own decisions regarding personnel, as another step towards full independence," said Encarnación Berger-Lobato, spokeswoman for Publica.

She explained the pensionskasse will begin to collect contributions from January 1, 2010, and has just elected its board consisting of worker and employer representatives.

These board members are currently discussing key details such as the future asset allocation of the fund, the contribution level and the conditions of the transfer from the old pensionskasse.

Both the board of the "Vorsorgewerk Bund" as well as the board of the new Publica pension fund will then have to agree to the transfer.

"A decision should be made by the end of October as we need a few weeks after that in order to start the pensionskasse on January 1," noted Berger-Lobato.

The pension funds collectively held within the CHF30.5bn (€20.1bn) Publica achieved a positive return of 2.47% in the first half of 2009, despite a negative result in the first quarter, although it missed its benchmark by 0.21 percentage points. (See earlier IPE-story: Publica loses another 1.43%)

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