“Pension funds assets are like fruit,” says Markus Wenger. “The better you tend them, the richer the harvest.” Wenger works for the law firm of BOHEST AG, he has a seat as an employee representative on the foundation council of the Vita Invest Joint Foundation and is currently its Chairman. In 2003 the staff welfare foundation of BOHEST AG was transferred to Zurich Insurance. And the reason why they switched back then still applies today: “With its global know-how and carefully chosen teams of specialists, Zurich guarantees that we get optimum, made-to-measure solutions in the field of investments and pensions,” says Wenger. And he likes the service too: “Every six months we get a detailed report of investment performance and investment activity, as well as a benchmark.”
“With its global know-how and carefully chosen teams of specialists, Zurich guarantees that we get optimum, made-to-measure solutions in the field of investments and pensions.”
Additional payments for retired persons
BOHEST AG decided that it wants in future to benefit from the new model of Vita Invest because, according to Wenger, the company will enjoy more attractive retirement benefits as a result: “Pensioners will have a share in the investment income of their retirement provision assets and receive additional payments from them.” An attractive pension fund solution can also be a bonus in the labor market, particularly for a company like BOHEST AG. The company was founded in 1888, which makes it one of the oldest patent attorneys’ offices in Switzerland. Today, BOHEST AG has 29 employees at its offices in Basel and Buchs (SG).
“Pensioners will have a share in the investment income of their retirement provision assets and receive additional payments from them.”
The rules of the game have long been in need of change
BOHEST AG looks after all matters of commercial legal protection, in particular patents, brands, designs and licenses, for a large number of domestic and foreign clients. The new retirement provision solution from Vita Invest is an innovative feature of the joint foundation landscape. Wenger welcomes the fact that Vita Invest makes greater use of financial flexibility. The law on occupational retirement provision came into force in 1985. “Since then life expectancy has risen by five years. As a consequence we should now be working until we’re 70,” says Wenger. But the rules of the game have only been changed very slowly. “Which has upset the balance of the second pillar,” he says critically. “I personally cannot understand how the legislator can stick to the conversion rate of 6.8 percent.” With Vita Invest, BOHEST AG created the conditions to ensure that its insured employees will have more money available on retirement. The situation at Aerni AG from Pratteln was different. In the end they had no other choice. They had to look for a new pension fund. “In 2003 our longstanding BVG insurer terminated our relationship as a result of an unfavorable claims history and the ‘crisis’ in the BVG business at the time,” says CEO Bernhard Aerni. Bad news for an SME engaged in high-quality mechanical engineering and equipment manufacturing, which made a name for itself as a supplier in the sheet metal forming sector and developed its own metal wine storage rack system, purely from a joy in creating innovative products.
Staff currently enjoying a premium holiday
The search for a new insurer turned out to be even more crucial. “In the end the only affordable offer we received was from Zurich,” says Aerni, who was elected to the foundation council of Vita Invest as an employers' representative a few years ago and is currently Vice Chairman. In retrospect it turned out to be a stroke of good fortune. The pension scheme of Aerni AG has done very well. “With lengthy overfunding and a balanced, conservative investment strategy, we have an above-average cover ratio,” says Aerni. The occupational retirement provision at Aerni AG is now in such a good state that staff in Risk Management have not had to pay any premiums for several years, enjoying what is known as a payment holiday. Vita Invest has now been marketing its new retirement provision model since 2020. For Aerni AG it is already quite clear that they will be making use of this for their 40 employees who are liable under BVG. “We are attracted by the possibility of benefiting fully from performance, as well as the extremely transparent cost arrangements,” says Bernhard Aerni. There is one more reason why Aerni is so impressed by the new Vita Invest model. I see the flexible pension as a clear answer to the unfair redistribution of assets to pensioners, as sell as the uncertain performance on the equity markets,” stresses the CEO.
We are attracted by the possibility of benefiting fully from performance, as well as the extremely transparent cost arrangements.
Bigger balance on retirement
For Aerni it is not just redistribution that is a major headache. He is also disturbed by the lack of interest from the active working population in their own retirement provision. “Bringing down the conversion rate has nothing to do with pension theft, but with higher life expectancy,” he emphasizes, making the following calculation: “Whereas in the past CHF 200,000 worth of retirement assets had to last 15 years, that figure is now 20 years, so there can no longer be so much per year,” With Vita Invest the chances are good that the insured employees at Aerni AG in Pratteln will have more assets available on retirement.