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Swiss performance comparisons on way

The Swiss association of pension funds (ASIP) and Zurich-based consultant Watson Wyatt have joined forces to produce an investment performance comparison universe for Swiss pension funds.
The combined survey will produce figures every six months, with the first to appear in August this year, taking performance data from January 1, 2000.
Gioacchino Puglia, senior consultant at Watson Wyatt, comments: "We don’t have universes here like Caps or WM where you can see the median fund. We have bits and pieces of universes in Switzerland from different consultants. ASIP’s goal is to have a voluntary survey with as much information as possible to produce a representative universe, which can be the reference point for the Swiss market," says Puglia.
The Thun-based association has 1,200 members with around SFr250bn (E159bn) in assets covering more than 2.2m employees. Watson Wyatt will merge its own clients into the survey.
Puglia says it is difficult to gauge how many pension funds the joint survey will include: "A lot have told me they want to participate and committed verbally – particularly large schemes, many of which sit on the ASIP board, but we haven’t seen many written contracts yet."
He notes that pension funds involved will be named, but that individual performance figures for each fund will not be given. "The results will be anonymous, but the universe will be shown – upper and lower quartiles, median and asset classes. There was a clear preference by pension funds not to publicly disclose their results but just to compare to the universe. Fund comparison could be interesting to do, but the first step will be to be representative and then see what happens."
Watson Wyatt’s swiss investment performance survey (SIPS) for 1999, showing its discretionary balanced mandate universe of around 40 pension funds (SFr20bn in assets), records a drop in the median figure to 9.4% for last year against 12.2% over three years annualised. Disparity between the best performing (20.8%) and worst performing fund (-0.1%) appears to have dragged down the median in comparison to a tighter dispersion of returns over three years. Hugh Wheelan

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