Pension Insurance Certificate Benefits of occupational pension schemes

The pension insurance certificate contains a lot of useful information if you understand how to read it.

How the Swiss pension system is built up and how its 3 pillars interact, is explained in our Hello Switzerland website article The Swiss Pension System.

For many people in Switzerland, their savings in the occupational pension scheme (2nd pillar) form the most significant portion of the retirement provision.

Each year, you get a certificate which provides you with all necessary information regarding your benefits in this 2nd pillar.



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The insurance certificate

Your pension plan provider issues a certificate that – among other information – shows your pension benefit and your entitlement.

As each pension fund provider has its own regulations and its own insurance certificate, your personal insurance certificate may not contain all the information shown in the example below.

If you have any specific questions regarding your company pension scheme or the insurance certificate, the members of the board of trustees will be your initial contact persons. Their names are indicated at the bottom of the insurance certificate (if not, ask your employer).


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A  The applicable federal law ("LOB") prescribes minimum benefits.

B  This column shows your actual savings and benefits pursuant to the benefit plan. These values can be higher than the minima in column A.

C  Address and reference number(s). The reference number (contract/policy number) is particularly needed when making enquiries.

D  Personal data: birth date, gender and marital status are required for the calculation of benefits and contributions.

E  Your annual salary is the income subject to AHV (OASI). The insured annual salary must not necessarily correspond with the reported annual salary. The applicable law provides some flexibility what salary should be insured.

F  The age assets are accrued from the retirement credits from vested benefits, single premiums and interest. These form the basis for the calculation of the retirement benefits.

F1  The prospective age assets at 31.12.20XX equal the retirement assets that have accrued and the interest that they have earned plus the retirement credits that are assumed to be due at the end of the current year.

F2  The projected retirement assets are extrapolated (factoring in future contributions based on the current insured annual salary), whereby interest is not taken into account.

F3  This calculation is again a projection based on the current insured annual salary; assumptions are made regarding the future rate of interest. The retirement benefits are calculated based on the projected retirement assets with interest.

F4  The termination benefit comprises the retirement assets accrued and any bonuses credited pursuant to the regulations as per the valid date of the insurance certificate.

G  Projected benefits upon retirement: the retirement benefits (retirement pension or retirement capital) at the time of normal or early retirement that result from the extrapolated retirement assets are listed under this heading. The amount of the projected retirement pension is derived from the value of the retirement capital multiplied by the corresponding conversion rate valid at normal or early retirement age. As this is a projection, the effective retirement pension may differ from the calculated values.

H  In the event of the death of an insured person, the surviving spouse (or registered partner) is entitled to a spouse's pension and surviving children are entitled to an orphan's pension. The amounts are governed by the regulations. The orphan's pension is paid until the age of 18 or until 25 if still studying.

I  If an insured person is permanently disabled, a disability pension is paid and for any children a disabled person's children's pension is paid.

J  The occupational pension scheme is jointly financed by the insured person and the employer. The retirement assets are accrued by retirement credits and they are generally converted into a retirement pension at the date of retirement. The death and disability risks are covered by the risk premiums. The contribution to the Security Fund guarantees that the benefits can be paid even in the event of the insolvency of the pensions insurance scheme.

K1  This is actually an important figure: the maximum purchase amount you can pay in if you wish to improve your insured benefits. Such "buy-backs" are tax deductible. As there are additional restrictions and the sum that can actually be paid in depends on the date of purchase and other factors, the «Purchase request» form must be submitted prior to any purchase.

K2  Maximum possible contributions for the purchase of early retirement (if the regulations foresee this option).

K3  Amount withdrawn early or pledged for the financing of a (owner-occupied) housing.

K4  Amount transferred to the spouse (or to the registered partner) in the event of a divorce.

K5  The termination benefit at date of marriage is shown as, in the event of a divorce, it serves as the basis for calculating the termination benefit accrued during the marriage.

K6  If the insured person informed the pension plan provider that capital rather than a retirement pension will be withdrawn (so-called capital option or partial capital option), this is noted here.

K7  Indicates whether the order of beneficiaries conforming to regulations and/or whether a partner's pension was registered. In both cases, the appropriate form must be submitted.

K8  Purchases made during the past three years are shown here. Following purchases, benefits may not be withdrawn in the form of capital in the three years following the purchases.

L  Amount of the applied conversion and interest rates (for the projections in section G).

M  Names of the members of the board of trustees. To be contacted if you have any questions.

Author: Gordana Muggler

Gordana Muggler is Head Global Mobility and HR Services at BDO Switzerland.

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