SWITZERLAND - The Ascoop spin-off fund to be created next year will be named Symova and will initially see 10 companies join it.

The collective pension vehicle for the transport industry  announced earlier this year another fund would be created, which schemes could join if they have a high funding level or can afford to see the tough recovery measures through. (See earlier IPE story: Ascoop’s new fund for employers set on full-funding by 2020)

Ten companies from the tourism and transport industry (see list below) will leave the heavily underfunded Ascoop in July next year to join the Symova.

The new fund currently has around 4,300 members but it hopes to start in July with 5,000 and grow that number to 6,000 by the end of 2010.

First, however, the members in the various companies have to agree to the transfer in member votes, to be taken in the first quarter of next year.

In the case of the RBS - the company running the regional transport in the cantons of Bern and Solothurn - its vote will take place in January, a spokeswoman confirmed to IPE. The Swiss social ministry also still has to give its okay.

Current agreements on pension and benefit levels will remain unchanged under the new fund.

However, companies joining Symova will have to commit to full recovery of their pension plans by 2020, without outside financial aid.

Ascoop noted it will continue its own, slower recovery measures, which will take much longer to get the Pensionskasse to full funding level.

The founding members of Symova are:

BLS  (train, bus and boat transport) RBS (transport in the cantons of Bern and Solothurn) SOB (railways in South-Eastern Switzerland) TN (public transport in and around Neuchatel) SGV (ships on the Vierwaldstätter lake) VZO (public transport in Zurich) STI (Thun-based transport company) Mountain railways Saas-Fee Swiss cooperative travel bureau Reka, and Federation of public transport VöV.