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Swiss parliament rejects tax on pension funds

SWITZERLAND – The Swiss pension industry is confident the House of Representatives ( HR) will go the same way as the country’s lower house, which recently voted against levying stamp duty on the country’s domestic funds, says Peter Wirth of the Versorgeforum, the Swiss second pillar pensions forum.

“Given that the HR, like the lower house, is dominated by conservatives and that it was a substantial majority that said ‘no’, we are quite confident of success next spring when the motion is heard,” Wirth comments.

According to Wirth, the tax was pretty insubstantial anyway, but important from a political point of view. “Last year the tax brought in some SFr 180m, which is peanuts when you consider how much is held overall in Swiss pension funds. Basically, domestic Swiss pension funds are miffed that they have to pay it and foreign funds don’t. It is a political issue and an unfair nuisance,” he says.

Daniel Gloor, head of portfolio management at the SFr19bn (€12.8bn) Canton of Zurich pension fund, comments: “It has been discussed in parliament but I think the government would like to stick to these new rules because it is a big income.
“There are a lot of pension funds that don’t understand these new rules.
“People are going to fight against the government on this but I’m rather sceptical about how they will fare.”

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