SWITZERLAND - The Pensionskasse of the Swiss city of Luzern might be facing losses because it held structured products with the now insolvent Lehman Brothers but the fund's head, Konrad Wüest, told IPE this was not the main problem at the moment.
Wüest was unwilling to confirm specific figures but Swiss media had reported the Pensionskasse might be losing up to CHF8m (€5m) through the insolvency of Lehman Brothers.
The Pensionskasse had CHF 1.14bn in assets under management, of which CHF52.8m were in structured products, according to its 2007 annual report.
"The investments are not very large and therefore do not pose a major threat," he explained to IPE.
He also noted it was not yet certain how much of the investments will be paid back in the end, arguing "It might still be 100 percent".
For now, the fund has no choice but to hold the products as in many cases there is neither a current market price nor enough trading volume.
"Just looking at structured products is a too narrow a view," he added.
Wüest said he was much more concerned about the losses in the financial markets over the last days which have a significant impact on the equity exposure of all pension funds.
"So-called 'safe' investments in bonds could be at risk as those parties which are the debtors for structured products might be at the other end of traded obligations as well," Wüest pointed out.
He stressed - as always - the Pensionskasse was continually carefully looking through its investments, checking financial reports and market developments to identify major risks.
What general impact has this week's turmoil had on your pension scheme assets or those of your clients, and are there any long-term implications? If you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org