SWITZERLAND - Swiss Pensionskassen returns for 2007 will be "only just positive", Christoph Ryter, president of the pension fund federation ASIP, told IPE.

He noted he was "surprised" by preliminary calculations made by Credit Suisse which showed a performance of 2.1%.

The Pictet BVG 93 created in the 1990s as benchmark for the Pensionskassen only posted a return of 0.19%.

In any case, the legal minimum rate of 2.5% needed by pension funds for the pay-out phase was missed which means reserves will have to be used.

"We had four good years in which returns were above expectations and this year we will have to use some of the returns built during that period," Ryter explained.

He expects another "difficult investment year" for 2008 but a better one than last year.

Pension fund performance was dampened by a slightly negative performance of the Swiss government bond index and low returns from Swiss equities.

In its preliminary calculations for the quarterly Swiss pension fund index, Credit Suisse noted in mid-2007 the performance of Pensionskassen was still at 3.3% and was subsequently cut by negative returns in the third and mainly in the fourth quarter.

More details will be published by the banking group at the beginning of February in the "Schweizer Pensionskassenindex".

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