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Swiss pension fund BVK files initial lawsuits over 'commission rebates'

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Switzerland’s BVK has filed “initial” lawsuits against a number of institutions it says failed to pay back ‘commission rebates’ they received when managing mandates for the CHF27bn (€23bn) public pension fund.

A BVK spokesman confirmed to IPE that more would follow “if necessary”, but he declined to provide any further information on lawsuits, filed or pending. 

The pension fund is the first in Switzerland to take legal action with respect to commission rebates – locally known as Retrozessionen – but ASIP, the country’s pension fund association, said other Swiss schemes were thinking to follow suit.

Swiss pension funds, following the recent reform of the second-pillar pension system, must be much more transparent when it comes to the fees and commissions they pay.

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The BVK, in its most recent newsletter, confirmed that it was working “intensively” to increase transparency regarding its so-called commissions rebates.

The pension fund confirmed it had so far negotiated 16 statute-of-limitation waivers with “large asset managers, consultants and custodians”.

It said it had already disclosed more than CHF2m in commissions, and that it was currently checking further replies from external service providers.

The BVK said it would now widen its investigations to include “mandates under foreign law”.

The pension fund stressed that all of its current asset managers and consultants had confirmed in writing that they did not receive any commissions in 2013 in their work for the BVK. 

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