SWITZERLAND - The Swiss Pension Funds Association, ASIP, has called for the launch of special quality standards for autonomous pension schemes “in the interest of long-term financing security”.

Urging the establishment of quality standards, ASIP has joined the debate as to whether autonomous pension schemes should conform to the insurance control law. The lower chamber of parliament is due to discuss the matter on September 21.

The association has rejected the idea that the VAG should apply, arguing it was a matter for the BVG, the Swiss Federal Law on Occupational Retirement, Survivors’ and Disability Pension Plans.

ASIP chief executive Hanspeter Konrad explained to IPE that autonomous pension schemes work as funds open to employees and are officially independent of the mother company.

He said there should be a clear definition between pension funds and those companies bringing employers together for pension purposes.

“For us, the question is ‘who regulates these schemes?’. We think the governance must not be up to the insurance law, but rather responsibility of the control-pyramid of the BVG. The question of quality must also be clearly defined.”

The establishment of one of these schemes should conform to quality controls, which the BVG should exercise, he suggested.

In a statement ASIP, the Association Suisse des Institutions de Prévoyance, said: “In the interest of long-term financing security, requirements in the shape of additional warranties certificates must be established, especially for the establishment of autonomous pension schemes.”

“This solution considers the different objectives of providers of pension arrangements” ASIP said - adding that insured workers would also benefit from a higher degree of security.

“Tomorrow parliament decides whether it is a matter for the VAG, but we are against it,” Konrad said. “The law of insurance is not needed in this case. It is a law for life insurance and we do not need it applied to other systems.”