SWITZERLAND - The heavily underfunded Ascoop Pensionskasse will be dissolved as of 1 January, it has been announced. The scheme, for employees in the transport industry, currently faces a CHF700m (€544m) shortfall.

Over the last year almost all schemes belonging to the Ascoop Pensionskasse have either joined the Ascoop spin-off fund Symova, which employs stricter funding regulations, or have been transferred to other pension funds.

According to the Swiss Social Ministry (BSV), only 11 schemes remain in the Ascoop, with 41 active and 49 retired members, in addition to one scheme of retirees with 333 members whose former employers no longer exist.

A lawyer will now oversee the  effective liquidation of the fund and continue the recovery measures for the 11 remaining schemes.

The pensioners’ fund will be transferred to the Sicherheitsfonds, the country’s insolvency vehicle, which will ensure full pension payments for 330 of the retired members.

However, as payouts from the Sicherheitsfonds are capped, three members whose pension is calculated from a salary of over CHF150,000 will face pension cuts, the ministry said.

The Sicherheitsfonds estimates it will need to pay out CHF30m to all of the pensioners in the fund formerly belonging to the Ascoop.