SWITZERLAND - The Swiss government dismissed the idea to make the ASIP-Charter, written by the Swiss pension fund association, a binding catalogue for governance regulations.

At the recent ASIP member conference, the president of the association, Christoph Ryter, renewed calls for decreasing the regulatory burden to be placed on pension funds by the structural reform.

Ryter once again pointed out that the charter on governance issued and adopted by all ASIP members in 2009 could be used as a legal framework without having to implement new regulations.

However, Swiss interior minister Didier Burkhalter told delegates at the conference that this was not an option, as the bill passed by parliament last year included the introduction of sanctions for violations that were not included in the charter.

Burkhalter repeated that the government's aim was to strengthen the faith in the second pillar, which - according to him - had suffered in recent years, leading to a broad dismissal of a further lowering of the conversion rate in March last year.

But Ryter stressed that, according to feedback received from the ASIP, last year's referendum on conversion rate cuts was not proof of a lack of faith in the system but a call for additional measures to alleviate the negative impact of a further reduction of the conversion rate.

According to a survey conducted on behalf of the ASIP among 1,000 Swiss above the age of 15, faith in the second pillar has grown since 2009.

As many as 80% said they had absolute faith in Pensionskassen or "largely trusted" the system, with 15% agreeing with the former statement and a further 65% seeing the second as true.

The share of people with "absolute faith" increased to 31% when asked about their own Pensionskasse.

Meanwhile, the CHF8bn (€6.4bn) Aargauische Pensionskasse (APK) reported a performance of 2.8% for 2010.

Nevertheless, the return was not enough to boost the APK's funding level, which dropped by 0.9 percentage points to 98.9%.
Last year, the APK mandated the Dutch consultancy Ortec for an ALM study, the outcome of which - according to the fund's annual report - will "help to rebuilt the APK's reserves over the long term".

Read more on the structural reform of the Swiss second pillar in the June issue of IPE.