SWITZERLAND - The Swiss public will have until 28 February 2011 to comment on a bill aiming to overhaul supervision of the second pillar.

The new structure - which will see a regionalisation of supervision, as well as new governance requirements for pension funds - is to come into effect in two stages: 1 January 2011 for the supervisory structure and 1 July 2011 for the governance structure.

The Swiss government pointed out that the structural reform would "increase transparency in the administration of Pensionskassen", which in turn would "help to prevent malpractice".

It also stressed that this reform addressed criticism voiced prior to the 7 March conversion rate referendum over administration costs and lack of transparency in the second pillar.

The government also published further details on the governance part of the bill, including new regulation stipulating that all people administering a pension fund must meet certain criteria such as proper conduct of business, prevention of conflicts of interest and 'perfect reputation'.

Further, business dealings with organisations linked to the Pensionskasse will have to be audited, and any payments received in the course of any deal will have to go into the fund.

Any use of insider knowledge from managing pension fund assets for personal investments will be forbidden.

Administration costs will have to be listed in the annual report in more detail, while auditors and consultants will be made more accountable.

For more on Swiss pensions supervision, see the December 2010 issue of IPE.