SWITZERLAND - The Pensionskasse of the Swiss postal service (PK Post) as well as the one of the city of Basel (PKBS) returned 9.43% and 10.4% respectively last year - less than the average pensionskassen because of their lower risk strategies.

While their performance this year was below the 10.6% average of Swiss Pensionskassen, the funds were among those not hit as hard by the crisis in 2008, when they returned -13.6% and -10.9% respectively. (See earlier IPE story: One in four Swiss plans are underfunded - Swisscanto)

The PK Post noted it had been "cautious" last year in its investment strategy, which cushioned losses in the first quarter. However, this left the fund "not ideally placed" for the market rally that followed, and led to underperformance against the 13.4% benchmark return.

The CHF12.8bn (€14.04bn) fund has just increased an "anti-benchmark" mandate with French investment house Tobam by CHF60m (€41m).

Together with the initial investment of CHF120m made in June 2008, the PK Post assets managed by Tobam now amount to CHF165m.

According to the asset manager, it "maximizes the degree of diversification when selecting the weighting of assets in the portfolio allocation process".

Andres Haueter, head of asset manager at Post PK, explained this was "one equity mandate among many" and said the move was "not part of a major shift in the asset allocation".

That said, he said "because of the positive experience we increased this mandate while cutting another one". 

"The anti-benchmark strategy matches the long-term strategy of PK Post to reduce active risk without limiting future returns", he pointed out.

Elsewhere, the regional council of the city of Basel has announced it will be discussing recovery measures for the PKBS over the next two weeks. (See earlier IPE story: Basel fund proposes contribution hike for 19 years)