Swiss federal scheme denies reports of breaking up

SWITZERLAND – Rumours that Switzerland’s largest pension fund, the Pensionskasse des Bundes (PdB), the federal employees’ pension scheme, is to be broken up are completely unfounded, claims Felix Senn, head of asset management for the fund, which had reported assets of €22.4bn in 2000

“If it is being broken up, it’s certainly news to me. There’s nothing out of the ordinary going on here at the moment,” says Senn, who suggests the rumours started once the Swiss Post Office decided last spring to break away from the federal fund and create its own, independent scheme.

“Basically, the Post Office workers took the decision themselves to break away, but they are the only group thus far to do so. It is not an indication of a general break-up of the Pensionskasse des Bundes. We are operating as well as ever,” Senn adds.

Senn says that whilst the overall membership of the PdB has been reduced by a third to 100,000 as a result of the departure of the 55,000 Post Office workers, he doesn’t expect to see any great difference in terms of the PdB’s assets and liabilities. “I can’t specify the size of the funds assets at the moment but I can say that the Post Office’s departure will create marginal differences on our balance sheet, such that we won’t need to change our asset allocation strategy as a consequence.” Senn expects to see the fund’s latest annual report published sometime this week.

The collapse of Swiss Air led PdB to look at its asset allocation strategy but again Senn says there were no changes made. “We were affected somewhat initially on the equity side as we have some passively managed portfolios in which we held Swiss Air shares, but on the bond side we weren’t affected at all. Overall the strong position of the fund means that we are able to absorb any losses without making any changes,” he comments.

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