The Swiss Occupational Pension Supervisory Commission OAK BV has started a consultation to legally define the role of experts in assessing the financial situation, also relating to benefits, of pension funds.

The consultation on the draft directive “Confirmations from the occupational pension expert in accordance with article 52e paragraph 1 BVG and article 1a BVV 2” lasts until 4 March.

Supervisory authorities, pension funds, occupational pension experts are invited to express their views.

With the draft directive on the role of experts sent for consultation, OAK BV aims to embed the previous, non-binding practices in a legal framework.

According to article 52e paragraph 1 letter B of the federal law on occupational pensions, BVG, experts periodically check whether the regulatory actuarial provisions relating to benefits and the financing situation of pension funds comply with regulations.

Occupational pension experts also periodically evaluate whether a pension fund can meet its obligations.

The Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) started a working group to implement the amended rules, which so far have however only been partially put in place, OAK BV said in a document.

The draft directive that OAK BV is now sending out for consultation also includes changes that in the meantime have been made to the law, for example with regards to 1e pension solutions, and takes into account the implementation of article 1a of the occupational pension regulation BVV 2 on the principle of adequacy, it added.

OAK BV is taking the step of placing at the centre of the framework the principle of adequacy due to its complexity, it said in the document.

It added that in contrast to other principles relating to occupational pension benefits, the principle of adequacy must be fulfilled on three levels. The first is the pension plan level, meaning that each individual plan must meet the requirement of adequacy.

The principle of adequacy also has to be considered at pension fund level if an employer or self-employed person has more than one pension plan in a pension fund, therefore the adequacy of all pension plans in the pension fund must be taken into account.

The third level is cross-institutional, meaning that if an employer or self-employed person is a member of different pension schemes, the principle of adequacy must be fulfilled across the schemes.

In addition, there is the special provision of the Article 1 paragraph 5 letter b BVV 2 relating to the adequacy of 1e pension solutions and pension funds. Experts can confirm that an audited pension fund complies with occupational pensions principles and that an occupational pension plan of an employer or self-employed person is fair.

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