SWITZERLAND - Swiss pension funds in the ASIP/Watson Wyatt performance universe managed to outperform two of their three performance benchmarks in 2000.

The universe, launched in April 2000 by ASIP – the Swiss pension fund association and Zurich based consultant Watson Wyatt, covers 50 pension funds representing SFr80bn in assets, of which five schemes are public bodies and 45 private company pension funds.

The funds are benchmarked against the Pictet LPP family of funds and outperformed against the LPP-40 and LPP-60 benchmarks, which carry 40% and 60% equity levels respectively.
The LPP-40 index returned 0.5% for 2000 while the ASIP/Watson Wyatt universe returned an average of 1.8%.
Against the LPP-60, the universe added 0.8% to the index, returning –0.8% against the -1.6% benchmark.
However, with the smaller LPP-25 index the funds came out 0.4% worse off, returning an average 1.4% to the index rate of 1.8%.

The universe accounts for around 500 investment mandates, with 20% managed in-house and the remainder managed by third parties.
The smallest fund in the universe manages SFr10m and the largest SFr12bn.

Interestingly, the survey for 2000 shows that for the first time since 1994, conservative investment strategies, i.e. those with little share investment, performed better than more dynamic investment strategies.

According to the figures, foreign bond holdings were penalised by an overweight position in eurobonds, while domestic equity results show wide discrepancies in performance between different funds.
Results were relatively strong, however, in foreign equities, the survey shows.

On average, Swiss funds in the Watson Wyatt/ASIP universe held 25% in overseas shares, 20% in Swiss equities, 26% in Swiss bonds and 12% in overseas bonds.
Property accounted for 8% of portfolios, while alternative investments came out at two per cent with two per cent in cash.