SWITZERLAND - Swiss pension funds, with 400 billion Swiss francs (258 billion euro) under management, reported a SFr 4bn rise in assets during the third quarter of 2003.

Credit Suisse Asset Management’s CSAM Swiss Pension Fund Index shows that after a substantial rise in the second quarter 2003 the funds’ performance recovered further in the third quarter. The index has risen from 94.94% at the end of June to 95.80% at the end of September. On a month-by-month basis the index fell back slightly from 96.56% at the end of August

However, the gap between the Swiss pension fund index and the guaranteed minimum interest rate remains wide and continues to widen.

The guaranteed interest rate stood at 4% between December 1999 and December 2002 and was lowered to 3.25% on 1 January 2003. The CSAM figures show that in the last quarter the gap between the Swiss funds’ performance and the minimum interest rate increased from 19.36 to 19.42 percentage points.

The percentage of Swiss equities held in portfolios increased from 16.1% in the second quarter of 2003 to 17.6% in the third quarter, although the percentage of overseas equities fell from 16.4% to 13.6%.