Motion "Secure pensions thanks to comprehensively competent management of pension fund assets"
On 5 February 2021, the motion "Secure pensions thanks to comprehensively competent management of pension fund assets" was submitted to the National Council by FDP National Counsellor Andri Silberschmidt. The motion was discussed in the summer session, accepted by 123 votes to 65 (with one abstention) and thus passed on to the Council of States. The aim of the motion is to reform the occupational old-age, survivors' and disability pension scheme in a targeted manner and to adapt it to the current challenges. The key points of the motion are as follows:
1. More investment competence in the foundation boards
Objective: The most important strategic investment decisions must be taken by the boards of foundations or the investment committees of the pension funds.
Strengthening the investment competence in the boards of foundations is a prerequisite for exploiting the return potential while taking into account the individual risk capacity of a pension fund. The Swiss Pension Fund Study 2021 by Swisscanto shows that the pension fund with the highest performance has a significantly better return than the average of all pension funds (see figure). If the potential for returns that is lying idle is not exploited, lower benefits or higher contributions for the insured person will be the result. The long-term investment horizon enables the use of illiquid and attractive investment instruments such as private equity or infrastructure. These instruments increase the investment universe and thus the pension funds' room for action. Thanks to its expertise, the Board of foundation can use these investment options carefully and competently, and thus in the best interests of the insured persons.
2. More risk management
Objective: The current principle of risk distribution is to be complemented with comprehensive risk management, which is to be incorporated into the existing reporting.
Good risk management helps to avoid losses. Risk management should not be limited to the distribution of risks in the investment portfolios, but should become universal and take into account the specific risks of the individual pension funds. Comprehensive risk management then forms the basis for each pension fund in how it will make its investment decisions. Generating adequate returns is the core task of every pension fund. Strengthening risk management creates better opportunities to optimise the pension funds' returns without necessarily having to take more risks.
3. More responsibility in asset management
Objective: The category limits should be eliminated.
Every pension fund has a different risk structure, which is why fixed guidelines requiring all pension funds to follow the same rules do not make sense. When the investment guidelines were introduced in 1984, a ten-year bond issued by the Swiss Confederation yielded 4%, whereas it currently has a negative return. Especially in times of negative yields on government bonds and high fluctuations on the stock markets, an orientation towards fixed limits not only means low yields, but also a wrong security, which endangers the security of pensions. By eliminating the category limits, this deceptive security can be eliminated and the investment potential can be better realised. The comparison with other countries shows that the third contributor can do more.