SWITZERLAND – Pensionskasse Pro and Stiftung Abendrot, two pension funds for small- to midsize enterprises (SMEs), have reported huge gains in the number of insured for 2005.

Pensionskasse Pro said that at the end of 2005, it had acquired around 1,500 firms – nearly three times as many as the year before. It added that the number of insured employees rose to 8,218 from 3,606 year-on-year.

Meanwhile, Stiftung Abendrot, which specialises in socially responsible investing (SRI), said the number of firms it had acquired was up 16% to 970 in 2005. The number of insured rose 33.5% to 5,782.

“Autonomous multi-employer schemes have made their mark despite the traditional products from insurance companies. More and more employees are switching to the schemes which are independent, more transparent and offer a better pension,” commented Pensionskasse Pro, which is based in Schwyz.

Pensionskasse Pro also said its assets more than doubled in 2005 to CHF442m (€282m), adding that with a coverage ratio of 101.1%, it was slightly overfunded. It also put its total reserves at close to CHF13m.

Pensionskasse Pro said its asset allocation was based on a model developed by Swiss private bank Pictet. As a result, the scheme invests 55% of its assets in fixed income, 45% of which is denominated in Swiss francs.

Another 25% of the assets go to equities, with 15% of that foreign and the rest domestic. The remaining 20% is invested in real estate assets. Pensionskasse Pro did not, however, specify its return for 2005.

Meanwhile, Basel-based Abendrot said its assets jumped 47% to CHF470m in 2005, though it did not disclose its return on those assets.

The scheme’s asset allocation entails 39% in bonds, 23% of which are denominated in Swiss francs and 18% in equities, 11% of which are foreign.

Abendrot also invests 38% in real estate, 28% of which are direct holdings. The scheme has another 2% in alternatives and 3% in cash.

Stiftung Abendrot said that when investing, it made sure that “three key SRI criteria – namely health, environment and justice – are respected”.