Collective Foundations – a Model for Success?

The business model of the Alvoso Pension Fund differs from a lot of other collective foundations in terms of organisation. Pension assets are invested for, and in the interest of, beneficiaries, since no shareholder value needs to be created.

The majority of BVG-insured persons in Switzerland are insured with a collective or joint foundation. Many of these larger entities offer their services directly, although mainly indirectly, to insured companies, at multiple levels. In addition to their principal activity of managing policyholder data, general asset management, property development and/or management services are often also offered under the umbrella of a holding organisation. Other fields of activity consist of fiduciary services and administrative activities, which are carried out by a third-party company that is also subordinated to the holding company. By means of these offers, corresponding fees flow to the owners of these companies in the form of direct and, mainly, indirect costs. These owners can be individuals or larger, listed companies that generate fees for the benefit of their shareholders, i.e. the owners of their shares. The stock market prices of many insurance companies demonstrate the fact that these models work well for shareholders. This situation can lead to conflicts of interest, however.

The Alvoso Pension Fund operates in accordance with a different business model. The “shareholders” of the Alvoso Pension Fund are the Fund’s individual insured persons. They elect the Foundation Board periodically from among affiliated companies. Thus, Foundation Board members have a vested interest in making the Fund’s organisation both effective and cost-efficient. This is because every additional administrative franc is deducted from financial performance achieved and thus also, from the interest returned on pension assets.

In 2019, the Alvoso Pension Fund made considerable efforts to streamline its organisation and to reduce (hidden) fees. The Foundation Board arranged for an independent consultant to put all services (policyholder administration, asset management, fiduciary services, etc.) out to tender. In order to avoid any conflicts of interest, the tender was carried out on a fee basis as regards the consultant (and not via reimbursement to the consultant from the companies selected). There is never any participation in service providers of the Alvoso Pension Fund by the Fund’s own Foundation Board members.

The Fund’s organisation is completed by the election of an independent investment controller. His/her task is to audit the work of asset managers on an annual basis and, in addition to compliance with the agreed investment activity, to investigate their work for potential (hidden) fee traps. Thanks to its organisation, as a non-profit organisation, the Alvoso Pension Fund is entirely at the service of your insured persons and their companies.

Alvoso pays interest of at least 2% in 2021

In accordance with the decision of the Foundation Board each affiliation will earn interest of at least 2% for the year 2021. Since this is a collective foundation with an individual funding ratio per affiliation, each affiliation itself sets the maximum level of interest possible.

At the Alvoso Pension Fund, each affiliation has an individual funding ratio. This means that the Pension Commission of the insured company can set the final level of interest on its own responsibility. Additional interest is possible and appropriate, in particular if an individual affiliation has paid-in fluctuation reserves as well as free funds.

A minimum level of interest for all affiliations has already been set by the Foundation Board at its meeting on 27 October 2021, and depends on the annual performance of the investment. With a return of more than 8.5% in the 2021 investment year , this minimum interest rate for all insured persons is 2.0 percent. Interest is granted on an envelope basis as usual. This means that it is granted equally for both the statutory minimum benefits and for non-compulsory credit balances.

A large number of affiliations to the Alvoso Pension Fund attract a funding ratio of over 120%. In this area, the Pension Commissions of the individual companies can decide for themselves whether they want to grant an even higher level of interest on credit balances in addition to the 2% already granted.

Voluntary Contributions to the Occupational Pensions Scheme – Tax Deductibility for 2021

Please note that voluntary contributions must be received into our account at Credit Suisse AG, Zurich IBAN No. CH84 0483 5324 9275 3100 0 by value date 15 December 2021 at the latest. Later contributions cannot be taken into account for the 2021 financial year.

How to save taxes and plug pension gaps

Application for voluntary purchases

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Annual Financial Statement / Annual Report 2020

The Alvoso Pension Fund reinvents itself – a look back at a successful 2020

Looking back, 2020 was probably one of the most ground-breaking years in the 35-year history of Cham-based, Alvoso Pension Fund. Following the expiry of a 10-year cooperation agreement with LLB, asset and policyholder management operations have been put out to tender again. The decision to take the administration of insured clients into our own hands was a very logical one. An in-house administration team under the experienced leadership of Thomas Schmidiger, who is himself an experienced specialist, brings us closer to beneficiaries. And just as importantly, Alvoso is now both independent and neutral, a positioning that offers tremendous growth opportunities. From 1 October 2020, the collective foundation will operate under the name “Alvoso Pension Fund” (previously: ALVOSO LLB Pension Fund). The fund’s secretariat is now situated in Schlieren, in the heart of the Limmat Valley, which is currently booming economically. A new logo as well as a completely new corporate image have been created. For the first time ever, our website is now implemented in multiple languages. Digitalisation is also being driven forward – with passion.

 

Still on course for growth

The Alvoso Pension Fund continued its growth in the 2020 financial year. Even within the challenging environment of  Covid-19, a solid result was achieved. An annual performance of just under 3 per cent meant that it was not possible to match 2019; which had, in fact, been an exceptional investment year. Despite this, the earnings generated in 2020  exceeded long-term expectations.

  • Investments (balance sheet total) CHF 429.3 million (+ 2 percent)
  • Net result from investments CHF 12 million (previous year CHF 41.5 million)
  • Funding ratio at collective foundation level 105.6 percent (previous year 108.4 percent)

The year 2020 showed us once again quite clearly just how vulnerable the economy in general and specifically, the investment markets, are. The low level of interest rates, which continues on unabated, suggests that it will not be possible to generate adequate income over the next few years. The Board of Trustees of the Alvoso Pension Fund regards this ongoing situation as a confirmation of its cautious position. Stabilizing pension schemes continues to be a high priority. For this reason, the Alvoso Pension Fund’s accounting practices will, in the future, be even more cautious regarding our pension obligations and we have lowered the technical interest rate to 1.5 percent (previously: 2.0 percent). This makes the Alvoso Pension Fund a collective foundation with the lowest technical interest rate. Its retirement assets yielded interest at 1.0 per cent in 2020.

More and more people are reaching old age and will be able to draw their pensions for longer:  life expectancy has increased significantly in recent years. On the other hand, interest rates have fallen in the capital markets. For this reason, the Board of Trustees decided previously to lower the conversion rate to 5.8 percent by 2022.

Thomas Schmidiger, CEO of the Alvoso Pension Fund, emphasises that the fund’s performance developed positively again during the first quarter of 2021. The coverage ratio is now back at 108.4 percent as of 30 April 2021.

The detailed Annual Financial Statement 2020 of the Alvoso Pension Fund is now available online.

 

The Alvoso Pension Fund – a success story

In the 35 years of its existence, the Alvoso Pension Fund has been a highly successful venture, offering innovative ideas, excellent service and a high standard of personal attention. Every year, around 350 affiliated companies with over 2600 beneficiaries enjoy a cover surplus and are reassured to know that their retirement assets are in safe, competent hands. Individual pension solutions and the highest level of personal support are two additional factors that play a role in Alvoso’s success.

 

Contact

Alvoso Pensionskasse, Zürcherstrasse 104, 8952 Schlieren

Thomas Schmidiger, Managing Director

+41 43 444 64 40

www.alvoso-pensionskasse.ch

Events surrounding Credit Suisse – Alvoso not affected

At a meeting specially arranged for the Alvoso Pension Fund on 7 April, the topics of “Greensill” and “Archegos” were discussed in person with representatives of Credit Suisse (Switzerland) AG in connection with downside risks for pension assets.

By virtue of its investment structure, Alvoso has invested neither directly nor indirectly in the above-mentioned products. Moreover, pension assets are being managed within a separate legal entity belonging to Credit Suisse (Switzerland) AG. At the present time, Alvoso is not seeing any direct effects resulting from the management of its pension assets by Credit Suisse (Switzerland) AG. However, further developments will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

Home-Office Alvoso

At its press conference on 13 January, the Federal Council tightened the current lockdown and, in particular, made it compulsory for all employees to work from home, where feasible at reasonable cost. The Alvoso Pension Fund is now implementing this measure, in order to protect its employees. Nevertheless, we will of course still be available for our customers.

 

Despite the more difficult general environment, we will continue to deal with your requests rapidly, to the best of our ability.

Your Alvoso Team

Continued Insurance after Loss of Employment

Up to now, an insured person who loses his or her employment after reaching the age of 55 would leave the pension fund automatically and would have his or her retirement assets transferred into a vested benefits account. As a rule, vested benefit foundations do not pay out pensions on retirement, but only capital. Following reform (in effect from 1.1.2021), an insured person can now remain with their occupational benefits organisation. He or she will have the same rights as other insured persons (interest payments, conversion rate, pension).

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