SWITZERLAND - The minimum holding for foreign equities among Swiss pension funds was raised from 1.61% to 5.10% over the last quarter, according to Credit Suisse.

"That means that every legal entity represented in the index must have an exposure of at least 5.1% in non-Swiss stocks," Credit Suisse reports in its latest pension fund index for the third quarter.

Otherwise, "the overview of asset allocation spread shows little change," Credit Suisse sums up.

Two trends could be seen as continuing: higher real estate exposure and decreasing allocation to alternative assets.

Real estate exposure increased from 13.4% in the second quarter to 13.6% reaching a new high, 2.9% above the allocation in last year's third quarter.

As for alternative assets the figures show a decrease of exposure from 1.83% in the second quarter to 1.61%, 0.4% below the peak of 2.05% at the end of the second period last year.

The figures show a slight decrease in bond exposure: from 28.29% to 28.12% for CHF bonds and 10.86% to 10.70% for foreign currency bonds. This triggered a slight increase in equities: 14.77% to 15.07% for Swiss equities and 16.53% to 16.85% for foreign equities.
The survey based on global custody data of Credit Suisse shows that Swiss pension funds grew by almost CHF23bn (€14.4bn) to just over CHF600bn over the last quarter.

The Credit Suisse pension fund index itself rose by 4.59 points or 3.94% in the third quarter to stand at 121.07 points at end-September. 

"Thanks to buoyant market sentiment, the index weathered the setback in the second quarter of 2006 very well and continued to forge ahead," the report stated. In the second quarter the index had fallen by 2.71 points or 2.27%.