SWITZERLAND – Swiss pension funds returned seven percent in the second quarter, a “turnaround” according to performance measurement firm InterSec.

Intersec said the returns for its Swiss Balanced Universe, which represents invested Swiss pension fund portfolios, were “by far the best ones for more than four years”.

But it said the so-called “median manager” underperformed the InterSec Balanced Benchmark, which returned eight percent.

"That is very promising," said Peter Leutenegger of InterSec Switzerland. "We knew that these new quarterly results would be far better than the previous ones, but the magnitude really surprised us.

“We hope to see similar results for the next quarters to come to call this one a real upward trend."

The underperformance relative to the benchmark was mainly due to a higher allocation to Swiss bonds (41.9% compared to 37.2% in the InterSec benchmark) and a lower allocation to foreign equities (15.8% against 18.9%), InterSec said.

It added that the median manager’s return over that last year stands at –0.3%. Over the three and five-year view, the returns are –3.5% and –0.5% respectively.

InterSec measures more than 250 portfolios with a total value of over 35 billion Swiss francs of Swiss pension fund assets. Data is provided by more than 15 Swiss and foreign asset managers.