SWITZERLAND - The Swiss government is searching for researchers to conduct a comparative study of pension supervision and to check the applicability of Solvency II as part of a project to collect ideas for pensions reform.

Switzerland has been mulling an overhaul of the regulation of second pillar pensions for several years now. (See earlier IPE article: IMF finds fault with Swiss pension controls)

The current draft of a new bill proposes that direct supervision be regionalised while at the same time officials argue one national regulatory body should be created.

Before the Swiss parliament makes any decisions, however, the government has tendered a study into foreign pension systems and their supervision, a comparison with the Swiss system and possible effects that introduction of a solvency test might have.

The project will begin at the end of August and should be finalised by February 2010 with costs being capped at CHF120,000 (€79,000).

One part of the research to be produced is a comparison of pension systems and supervisory arrangements in "five to seven countries in which occupational pensions has a similar weight to the one the second pillar has in Switzerland", the government stated in the tender notice.

It added the regulatory reform had become necessary as "the stock market crashes between 2000 and 2002 as well as the financial trouble many retirement providers are in" have placed strains on "an effective supervision of the second pillar".

The second part of the research is investigate the introduction of a solvency test for the Swiss mandatory pension sector, what effects this might have and how it would change supervision.

Interested parties have until the end of the month to file their offers. (The tender notice is available in French or German.)

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email julie.henderson@ipe.com