Swiss interior minister Alain Berset has published the final draft of the Altersvorsorge 2020 reform package without any major changes, despite widespread criticism of the plan within the local pensions industry.
The reform plan covers the first and second-pillar pension system, including, among other things, an increase in the retirement age for women, a cut in the minimum conversion rate to 6% and a change in the calculation of contributions to the second pillar by scrapping the so-called Koordinationsabzug – the discount used to reduce contributions to Pensionskassen based on how much is already paid into the first pillar.
But Swiss pension fund association ASIP warned that the failure to streamline the reform plans and “stress test them for their political suitability” might result in a no-vote against the draft.
Left-of-centre political parties have criticised the increase in the pension age for women and the cut in the conversion rate, while conservative parties have called for faster, simpler reform.
In a statement, Hans Peter Konrad, director at ASIP, called on Parliament not to reject the reform completely but rather take it into consideration.
Parliament can then decide whether to deal with it as a whole or debate certain themes individually.
Konrad argued that the reforms were “urgently necessary” and said the longer they were put off “the quicker and more painfully they will have to be implemented”.
After the draft has been through Parliament, the Swiss people will have to decide on certain issues like the increase in the VAT to help fund the first-pillar fund AHV.
ASIP said it hoped separate referendums would be held for various issues, so as not to include controversial proposals that do not need voters’ permission, such as the change in pensions for widows.
Under Berset’s reform plan, only widows and widowers with children will be entitled to their deceased partners’ AHV pension from now on.
In 2010, a cutting of the conversion rate failed, as a majority of voters opposed the measure.