SWITZERLAND - Calculations conducted by State Street suggest Swiss pension funds returned in 2009 were driven as a result of equity returns but lowered by real estate.

State Street is one of several financial services companies which attempt to calculate the returns Swiss pension funds make each quarter, but traditionally only includes assets held by a custodian, and therefore excludes assets such as real estate and mortgages. (See earlier IPE story: Swiss returns slump to -8.38% without property)

It suggested the average return was 2.9 while calculations by Credit Suisse and Swisscanto - both of which include all assets Swiss pension funds are invested in but use different samples - suggest the average return achieved in 2009 was lower at 2.32% and 2.5%. (See earlier IPE story: Swiss funds returned over 2.3% in Q1)

"The recovery on the financial markets is getting started again," said Reto Tschäppeler, vice president of State Street in Zurich and regional head for continental Europe.

He noted the year-on-year market return to the end of April was 17.34% - the highest one-year return seen in a decade.

"Many pension funds will therefore see a considerable improvement in their funding levels and recovery measures," he added.

Swisscanto has calculated the average funding level to have improved by 1.5 percentage points over the last year, to just over 100%.