While the challenges of FINMA authorisation are evident, a huge opportunity has been overlooked. Once authorised, intermediaries will be entitled to manage pension assets. There is enormous potential.
In Switzerland, financial market regulations were supplemented by the Financial Services Act (FinSA) and the Financial Institutions Act (FinIA) as of 1 October 2020, reflecting developments in European Union regulations. This development has also had a significant impact on managers of pension assets.
Previously, it was possible to apply for a licence to manage retirement assets from the Occupational Pension Supervisory Commission. But managers of assets of pension funds and investment foundations are now subject to FinIA and, therefore, require a licence. They will be supervised by FINMA as a result.
What these changes in the law mean is that wealth managers and external asset managers supervised by FINMA have a new business opportunity: they will be authorised to manage the assets in occupational pension plans.
More than CHF 50 billion in assets
The Swiss have pension assets of more than CHF 1 trillion in pension funds and vested benefits accounts. More than CHF 50 billion is held in vested benefits accounts – so there is enormous potential for managing assets in this market segment.
Bank Julius Baer operates an open provider platform and works with several vested benefit foundations. As of 1 January 2022, external asset managers will also be able to manage non-mandatory pension assets via the partners we work with or their foundations.
Example of a potential partner
PensExpert AG is one of the partners Julius Baer works with in pension provision. External asset managers can manage pension assets through the various foundations of PensExpert AG. All PensExpert’s foundations make use of the extension article (Art. 50 para. 4bis OPO2). This means that pension assets can be invested more flexibly and with a greater focus on returns: it is possible to invest up to a maximum of 85% in equities, 40% in alternative investments and 50% in foreign currencies.
Thanks to our working relationships, our external asset managers can use the services of PensExpert AG and other providers. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the contact persons listed below.
FINMA authorisation opens the way for intermediaries to manage Swiss pension assets for the first time.
There is a pool of more than CHF 50 billion held in vested benefit accounts.
Julius Baer can open doors through its pension provider partners.