SWITZERLAND - Swiss pension funds feel that there are no major shortcomings in their corporate governance and that the government need not need tighten their regulation.
This is one of the major findings of a new study conducted by Swiss consultant Lusenti Partners. The study encompassed 164 pension funds (Pensionskassen), including private and public schemes.
But in the study, the schemes insisted that to improve supervision, "more efficient implementation of current rules was necessary". The schemes' view concurs fully with that of ASIP, the association for Swiss Pensionskassen.
ASIP president Hans Ender has admitted that of the 3,000 schemes that his association represents, only 10% had fully adopted a best-practice code that ASIP launched in 2000.
Another important finding from Lusenti's study was that a mere one-third of the 164 schemes paid members who served - albeit part-time - on their supervisory boards or investment committees.
According to the study, average pay for the members was between CHF3400 and CHF4400 annually.
"That is very small compensation for a huge responsibility," commented Graziano Lusenti, chief executive of Lusenti Partners. "To improve professionalism at the schemes, which is what politicians are calling for, better compensation would be a good first step."
The study comes in the wake of this summer's Swissfirst affair, which touched seven Pensionskassen, including Publica, a CHF30bn (€18.8bn) scheme for federal employees and a CHF1.6bn fund for Swiss employees at Siemens.
Meanwhile, the affair has led Swiss politicians to call for tighter regulation of the Pensionskassen.