SWITZERLAND - Pensionskasse Pro, a pension fund targeted at small- to midsize enterprises (SMEs) in Switzerland, has reported huge gains in assets and the number of firms insured for the first half of 2007.

Pensionskasse Pro said that at end-June its assets totalled CHF1.2bn (€728m), up 57% from the beginning of the year.

"The jump in assets was due to significant growth in the number of firms and employees insured," a spokesman said. He added that the pension scheme was open to SMEs with a staffing level of only two people.

Over the same period the number of firms insured by Pensionskasse Pro rose 45% to 3,700. These firms employ 21,000 people who now contribute to the scheme.

Pensionskasse Pro also reported a return of 2.12% for the first half. This was above its internal benchmark but below the 3.3% average for other Swiss pension funds.

It said 25% of its assets were in equities, including 10% Swiss and 15% foreign, and 58% in bonds, including 43% denominated in Swiss francs and the other 15% in foreign currency.

The remaining allocation saw 15% of assets in Swiss property and 1% in mortgage loans and cash.