What exactly is the compound interest effect? Why do I benefit so much with VIAC?
Interest that is credited at the end of a certain period increases the deposit from the beginning of the following period and thus earns interest in the future. In securities investments, the principle of compound interest is even more effective. Your acquired assets generate profits, are reinvested and produce further profit in the following period. The lower the cost, the higher the profits. And the more time you give the compound interest effect, the greater its impact. With VIAC's extremely cost-effective securities solution, you benefit particularly from the compound interest effect.
In which cases can I dissolve my Pillar 3a?
You can withdraw your retirement savings on the basis of statutory provisions. The most important reasons for purchase are:
- Reaching the AHV age (5 years before possible)
- home ownership promotion
- Purchase into the pension fund
- Start of self-employment
- Leaving Switzerland
- Disability and death
A transfer to another pension foundation is possible at any time.
Pure account solution or invest a part of it in securities?
Since your Pillar 3a is basically a pension fund, you can only withdraw the money in a few exceptional cases as regulated by law. This long-term nature makes it suitable for investments in securities (assuming an investment horizon of 5-10 years). In this way, you benefit from higher earnings opportunities compared to the pure account solution. At the same time, an investment in real values, i. e. equities and real estate, provides a certain degree of protection against inflation. With a pure account solution you are completely exposed to this risk. Inflation expectations are currently around 0.5%, which is already higher than the interest rates of many providers.
In order to benefit from higher earnings opportunities, you have to accept certain price fluctuations. In addition to the interest-bearing account, we offer a variety of strategies with a small equity component (strategy 20), which are exposed to smaller fluctuations, up to pure equity strategies (strategy 100), which are exposed to larger fluctuations.
Download our app, answer 6 simple questions and find out which investment type you are. Your investment type will then tell you which strategy suits you best. If we find out from your answers that you don't want to see fluctuations or that you have too short an investment horizon (e.g. because you want to withdraw your retirement assets for owner-occupied residential property in the next few years), we recommend a pure account solution with no fluctuations. Of course, you can override the investment proposal at any time. It's very simple, just try it yourself!
When does it make sense to pay into Pillar 3a?
If you have money that you want to use for retirement and/or tax saving. The capital in your Pillar 3a is tied up and can only be withdrawn at an early stage in exceptional cases as regulated by law. It is therefore imperative that you are prepared to give up this capital until your retirement or the acquisition of owner-occupied residential property.
How do I deduct my 3a deposit?
You will receive a tax certificate from us, which you simply have to enclose with your tax return. You must enter the deposit amount in your tax return under "Deductions".
Do I have to pay tax on my 3a assets?
VIAC Life base protection
What is the VIAC Life "base protection"?
For every average invested assets of CHF 10'000, VIAC Life will provide you with free base protection coverage against disability (at least 70% disability degree) or death with a value of CHF 2'500. Thanks to this base protection, you or your beneficiaries will receive up to 25% in addition to your already saved pension assets in the event of a claim. Best of all, if you have a vested benefits account with VIAC in addition to your 3a, you will also receive free base protection there from VIAC Life.
You can find out how high your free base protection is in the VIAC Mobile App or the web version on your PC/tablet under the product "Life".
Is and remains the VIAC base protection free of charge?
Yes, the VIAC base protection is free and will always remain free. VIAC has grown very successfully in recent years and would like to give something back to VIAC customers with this free additional service.
How can I get a (higher) base protection?
To get a (higher) base protection, you can transfer existing 3a assets to VIAC or, if possible, deposit the annual 3a maximum with VIAC. In this way you can reach the limit of CHF 10'000 invested assets faster and benefit from free base protection. The following table shows you an overview of the base protection coverage in relation to the assets invested in securities:
Invested assets Coverage CHF 10'000 CHF 2'500 CHF 20'000 CHF 5'000 CHF 30'000 CHF 7'500 CHF 40'000 CHF 10'000 ... ... CHF 990'000 CHF 247'5001 CHF 1'000'000 CHF 250'0001
1To extend coverage from CHF 100'000 up to CHF 250'000, three health questions must be completed.
How is the base protection calculated?
The base protection is calculated on the average invested assets of the previous month. For every CHF 10'000 of assets invested in securities, VIAC Life will provide you with free base protection against disability or death in the value of CHF 2'500.
What risks are covered by the base protection?
By default you are insured against the risk of disability. You can change the protection to death in the app or the web version on PC/tablet under the product "Life". Regardless of the selected risk, the base protection is valid for both illness and accident.
How often can I change the covered risk in the base protection?
The first change from death to disability risk coverage can be made at any time. We want to offer you as much flexibility as possible. After that, a new change is only possible in 12 months.
Why do I have to answer health questions when I change the covered risk?
This ensures that the base protection is effectively paid out when a damage event occurs. If no health check were carried out, a payment could be refused due to pre-existing conditions.
How can I change the base protection risk?
You can adjust the base protection in the VIAC Mobile App or the web version on PC/Tablet under the product "Life". The first adjustment of the base protection from disability to death becomes active in the following month. A new change of your base protection can only be implemented again after 12 months.
How can I unlock higher coverage in base protection?
If your base protection coverage exceeds CHF 100'000, you will be asked to answer 3 health questions. After a successful examination, the maximum coverage of the free base protection coverage will be extended up to CHF 250'000. If you do not answer the questions or the health check is negative, the free base protection will remain at a maximum of CHF 100'000.
Who is the risk carrier for the base protection?
Helvetia Swiss Life Insurance Company Ltd is the insurance partner of VIAC. In the event of a claim, the insurance benefit is paid out by VIAC.
A relative has passed away. What should I do?
We will be happy to support you with the next steps in order to check a possible claim for benefits at VIAC. Please contact us via VIAC hotline or e-mail so that we can send you the necessary forms.
Terzo Pension Foundation / Vested Benefits Foundation of WIR Bank
Phone: 0800 80 40 40
Open customer relationship
I have a new mobile number - how can I change it?
You call us at 0800 80 40 40. After successful identification, we will immediately save the new number in the system.
I don't have a Swiss mobile number, can I still become a VIAC customer?
Yes, you can also register with an international mobile number.
Am I a customer of VIAC AG or the Terzo Pension Foundation of the WIR Bank?
By using the VIAC App, you enter into a contractual relationship with the Terzo Pension Foundation of WIR Bank. Behind VIAC AG are the three initiators of VIAC's pension solution, who developed the offer together with WIR Bank. This company has no relevance for you as a customer since the operation of the entire solution is ensured by WIR Bank.
Am I also a customer at WIR Bank?
No. By using the VIAC App you only enter into a contractual relationship with the Terzo Pension Foundation of the WIR Bank.
Do I make a commitment when signing the pension savings agreement?
No. Even after the opening process has been completed, you have the freedom to decide at any time whether or not you want to make a deposit. You will not be activated in our system as a customer until the first receipt of money is credited to your VIAC account. The VIAC administration fee will only be charged on your invested capital. Therefore, you do not pay any fees as long as your money is not invested.
Why do I have to upload a photo of my ID/passport?
We use this data to check your details. With the ID, all you have to do is upload the front page.
Can I open multiple portfolios?
Yes, we allow you to manage up to 5 portfolios. You can add a second portfolio within seconds directly in the app. This allows you to make a staggered withdrawal as you get older. By withdrawing smaller amounts over several years, taxes can be saved (tax progression).
Is there a minimum term for my 3a savings with VIAC?
No. You can close your savings 3a with VIAC at any time. All securities are sold on the next weekly trading day on the following Tuesday. After the notice period of 31 days, you can transfer your pension assets to another pension foundation, which is free of charge at VIAC.
Who can establish a relationship at VIAC?
Basically, any person over the age of 18 can establish a relationship with VIAC. However, in order to be able to make a deposit, AHV-liable income must be earned. Without income, only a transfer of existing Pillar 3a assets is possible. This can be particularly attractive for young mothers who interrupt or give up their career.
Is there a minimum investment amount?
No. You can invest your money with our offer from as little as CHF 1 or put it into the interest-bearing retirement savings account.
How do I know which strategy suits me best?
As part of the onboarding process, 6 simple questions will help you find out your investment type. Based on your type, one of our strategies (account, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100) is recommended. Of course, you can override our recommendation at any time.
How do I open a third pillar at VIAC?
It's easy: download the app, have your ID / passport ready and complete the opening process 100% digitally in less than ten minutes.
Security and privacy
What should I do if my mobile phone is stolen?
There is no immediate danger, as the thief cannot log in without a password and cannot change anything accordingly. An e-mail for a password reset is also sent only after successful identification. Money withdrawals via app are not possible. We recommend that you contact your mobile phone provider to block your mobile number and avoid any costs.
Can a third party steal money from my 3a by unauthorized access?
No. For us, it has always been a central concern to ensure maximum security for pension assets. Thus, there is no connection between the VIAC App and WIR Bank or Credit Suisse / ZKB. It is therefore impossible to access the assets of the Terzo Pension Foundation via the app. In principle, our solution is safer than any e-banking solution.
Where’s my money?
Your money is at the Terzo Pension Foundation of the WIR Bank. The cash portion is in the Terzo Pension Foundation’s interest-bearing collective account. Credit Suisse or ZKB act as custodian banks for securities within the Terzo Pension Foundation. Your money will be kept safe in Switzerland. Incidentally, the cash portion of your pension assets enjoys a bankruptcy privilege (max. CHF 100'000 per client) in the event of bankruptcy of the bank. Privileged assets end up in bankruptcy class 2. In addition, the custodian bank must hold domestic receivables or other assets located in Switzerland (usually mortgages) to the extent of 125% of its privileged assets. More information can be found at: www.esisuisse.ch
How secure is my personal information?
The VIAC app runs in the same high-security zone as the e-Banking from various Swiss banks. Furthermore, your data will only be stored in Switzerland at two geographically different locations for maximum data security.
How secure is my login to the app?
The VIAC app runs in the same high-security zone as the e-Banking from various Swiss banks. Access to the VIAC App is protected by your personal password. Already during the registration process we support you in creating a secure password. As soon as you want to make substantial changes, we will send you a code via SMS for maximum security, which you have to enter for confirmation.
Is there any depositor protection on my 3a assets at VIAC?
No, the cash assets of all Pillar 3a foundations are only privileged in the event of the custodian bank's bankruptcy. The privilege means that the assets are to be allocated to the second bankruptcy class. Your money, which is not invested in securities, is managed by WIR Bank, a purely Swiss and cooperative institution. With the bankruptcy privilege, cash assets of up to CHF 100'000 per client are given preferential treatment in the event of bankruptcy of the account-holding bank. Securities are held at Credit Suisse or ZKB. Privileged assets end up in bankruptcy class 2. In addition, the custodian bank must hold domestic receivables or other assets located in Switzerland (usually mortgages) to the extent of 125% of its privileged assets. Securities are regarded as special assets, are protected in the event of the custodian bank's insolvency and are not included in the bank's bankruptcy assets. More information can be found at: Esisuisse
How safe is my money? What happens if the WIR Bank becomes insolvent?
As safe as any other bank or pension foundation. You pay every franc directly into the Terzo Pension Foundation of the WIR Bank. The Terzo Pension Foundation is independent and responsible for the secure, needs-oriented management of the pension assets of its clients. It has been operating successfully on the Swiss market since 23 October 2002 and has already been entrusted with more than CHF 2.4 billion in client assets.
If the WIR Bank finds itself in financial difficulties, it is the task of the Terzo Pension Foundation to take the necessary measures to protect the pension assets of its clients (e.g. this may result in a change of custodian bank). With the bankruptcy privilege, your account assets up to CHF 100'000 will be given preferential treatment in the event of bankruptcy of the account-holding bank. Securities are held at Credit Suisse or ZKB. Privileged assets end up in bankruptcy class 2. In addition, the custodian bank must hold domestic receivables or other assets located in Switzerland (usually mortgages) to the extent of 125% of its privileged assets. Securities (including our index funds) are regarded as special assets and do not fall into bankruptcy assets in the event of the custodian bank's insolvency. More information can be found at: Esisuisse
Can transfers be made within the VIAC portfolios?
No. Each VIAC portfolio is considered an independent 3a relationship. Since so-called splitting (partial withdrawals / partial transfers) is not permitted by law in pillar 3a, no assets can be transferred within the VIAC portfolios. Exceptions are partial withdrawals for the purpose of home ownership and partial transfers in the event of divorce.
As a WIR participant, can I make my deposit in WIR?
No. A deposit is only possible in CHF. Our system has nothing to do with the complementary currency WIR.
Are there any fees for deposits or withdrawals?
No. Deposits and withdrawals are free of charge.
Can I make up for missed deposits in the last few years?
No, unfortunately this is not possible. Therefore, we recommend a regular monthly deposit that fits into the longer-term budget.
May I open several 3a relationships?
Yes, we allow you to manage up to 5 portfolios. You can add a second portfolio within seconds directly in the app. This allows you to make a staggered withdrawal as you get older. By withdrawing smaller amounts over several years, taxes can be saved (tax progression).
Can I take my money back?
Yes, you can transfer your money to another pension fund at any time, subject to notice. It is not possible to transfer this amount to private assets to cover the daily needs of life before reaching the normal retirement age. However, the law provides certain exceptions in which the money can be withdrawn earlier. Early withdrawals are possible, among other things, for purchases of owner-occupied residential property, value-added investments or repayment of the mortgage on owner-occupied residential property. Those who set up their own business or emigrate from Switzerland can also withdraw the money. Under certain conditions, disability may also entitle the holder to claim the 3rd pillar early.
Does the VIAC App show me how much more I can deposit in the current year?
Yes, in your VIAC app you can see at any time what amount you have already deposited in the current year and how much capacity is still available up to the regulated, annual maximum amount.
What happens if I pay more than the 3a maximum amount allowed per year?
If a deposit is received that exceeds your maximum annual deposit amount, the full payment will be returned immediately.
When is my pension money invested?
Once credited, your paid-in capital will be invested with the next weekly rebalancing. The rebalancing takes place on a weekly basis on Tuesday. Until then, your money is already in your 3a account.
Do I have to make regular deposits?
No, 3rd pillar deposits are voluntary. Unlike insurance solutions, you can deposit as often and as much as you like without any financial disadvantages - even if your deposits are interrupted, there are no costs involved.
Do I better deposit monthly (standing order) or sporadically?
We recommend monthly standing orders since we always invest your money automatically in your strategy without additional costs and you profit from the average cost effect when investing in securities (more information can be found in the VIAC Academy).
How can I transfer existing 3a assets?
You can find your personal transfer order directly in your VIAC account (mobile: click on "Deposit" at the bottom and then select the lower tile for the transfer of existing 3a assets; web version: click on the menu item "Transfer" on the left). You can then print out the prefabricated transfer order, sign it and send it to your previous pension foundation.
How do I pay into my VIAC solution?
After you have downloaded our app and completed the opening process, you will enter your personal VIAC cockpit. There you click on the function element "Deposit", select "Deposit" and you will see your personal QR payment slip. Now you can transfer money from any Swiss bank to your 3a relationship. You can make a one-off deposit or create a standing order. We recommend monthly standing orders, because we always invest your money in your strategy without additional costs.
What is the maximum age to make a deposit?
Basically, you can pay in until you reach the AHV age. Currently this is 65 for men and 64 for women. Persons who continue to work after reaching the AHV age may continue to make deposits until they cease employment - but not longer than 5 years after reaching the normal AHV age.
I am self-employed with pension fund-connection, how much can I deposit?
In this case, the same applies to you as for employees, you are currently allowed to deposit a maximum of CHF 7'056.
I am unemployed, can I still deposit?
If you are registered as unemployed with the RAV, you are currently also allowed to deposit a maximum of CHF 7'056.
How much can I deposit into my 3rd pillar account?
If you are employed and are affiliated with a pension fund, you are currently allowed to pay a maximum of CHF 7'056 per year. In the case of part-time employment without a pension fund or as a self-employed person without a pension fund, you may pay up to 20% of your income, but not more than CHF 35'280.
VIAC investment model
When is a rebalancing triggered?
The following three reasons trigger a rebalancing:
- Deposit / transfer: Incoming deposits or transfers trigger the weekly rebalancing by default. The advantage is that even small payments or monthly standing orders with a large amount of existing pension assets always trigger a rebalancing and are thus invested directly. If necessary, this can also be deactivated under "Settings / Manage rebalancing settings". In this case the implementation takes place 1x monthly in the first rebalancing of the month and only in case of a deviation of more than 2% from the target strategy to the actual allocation.
- Strategy change: Changes in strategy always trigger the weekly rebalancing. Many clients want to gradually build up (or reduce) the risk and implement this by means of an individual strategy. Small steps, such as 1% per fund, have not triggered a rebalancing before August 2020 - only if the deviation was greater than 2%. Now even the smallest adjustments to the strategy trigger a rebalancing, which creates even more flexibility.
- Deviation greater than 2%: 1x monthly in the first rebalancing of the month it is checked whether the current weighting of the investment funds according to the defined strategy deviates by at least 2% from the target weighting. If the deviation is 2% or more for a single investment instrument (including cash) or over an asset class (e.g. equities), trading orders are automatically generated (purchases or sales). After their execution, the target values of the strategy are restored (more information can be found here: Academy).
When is a rebalancing triggered?
The following three reasons trigger a rebalancing:
- Deviation greater than 2%: The monthly rebalancing checks whether the current weighting of the investment funds according to the defined strategy deviates by at least 2% from the target weighting. If the deviation is 2% or more for a single investment instrument (including cash) or over an asset class (e.g. equities), trading orders are automatically generated (purchases or sales). After their execution, the target values of the strategy are restored (more information can be found here: Academy).
- Deposit / transfer: Incoming deposits or transfers trigger the rebalancing by default. The advantage is that even small payments or monthly standing orders with a large amount of existing pension assets always trigger a rebalancing and are thus invested directly. If necessary, this can also be deactivated under "Settings / Manage rebalancing settings". In this case, monthly rebalancing will only take place if there is a deviation of more than 2% from the target strategy to the actual allocation.
- Strategy change: Changes in strategy always trigger a rebalancing. Many clients want to gradually build up (or reduce) the risk and implement this by means of an individual strategy. Small steps, such as 1% per fund, have not triggered a rebalancing before August 2020 - only if the deviation was greater than 2%. Now even the smallest adjustments to the strategy trigger a rebalancing, which creates even more flexibility.
How can I adjust my strategy?
VIAC is a pure self-management platform, so you as a customer must adjust your strategy yourself in the VIAC App or VIAC Web version. To do so, simply click on the tile "Strategy" and select "Adjust strategy". The strategy adjustment is always implemented with the next weekly trading (every Tuesday).
How often can I change my strategy? Are there any costs?
You can adjust your investment strategy at any time in the VIAC App. The effective implementation takes place on the next weekly trading day on the following Tuesday. There are no additional costs in the sense of primary trading costs (brokerage fees). However, each exchange transaction also incurs external ancillary trading costs. These may be spreads (difference between buying and selling price) for index funds/ETF and currencies, or taxes (e.g. stamp duties). We try to keep these external ancillary trading costs as low as possible through intelligent internal netting (see Academy).
How useful are passive funds for pension provision?
Passive funds are particularly useful for long-term investments, as only a few active funds achieve a higher return than their benchmark over the longer term. This is further reinforced by the fact that passive funds cost considerably less than active funds. With the typically long investment horizon in tied pillar 3a, the resulting compound interest effect has a particularly strong impact on the investment performance. You can find out how much this will affect your personal pension plan by using our fee calculator.
Who are passive investment funds suitable for?
Passive investment funds (index funds and ETFs) usually depict an index (e.g. SMI for Swiss equities) and try to map its performance as accurately as possible. Since they merely depict the index and do not try to actively beat it, they are also called passive investment products. These are particularly suitable for investors who want to invest in a broadly diversified market with a single transaction at low cost and in the long term.
Is VIAC an active asset manager?
No. We offer a passive investment with active risk management at very low fees.
Can I override VIAC's investment proposal?
Yes, in the opening process, you can easily determine your investment type using the VIAC App. On the basis of this, a suitable investment strategy is proposed to you. You have the option of overriding this investment proposal and can choose from all strategies offered - from the account solution to the 100% equity strategy.
Can I simply open a Pillar 3a cash account with VIAC?
Yes, it is our goal to offer an optimal solution for every investment type. Our account is interest-bearing and free of charge.
Investment strategies / selection of index investments
What is the VIAC Account Plus?
With the VIAC Account Plus, 95% of pension assets are held in the account at a preferential interest rate of 0.6% per annum. The remaining 5% are invested globally and broadly diversified in equities. There are no custody fees, brokerage fees, administration fees or product costs. With the investment focus Global or Switzerland, product costs are also included. External product costs of approx. 0.01% are only incurred for Sustainable implementation.
How much risk/variation do I have to expect?
VIAC's investment strategies cover six different risk types. In addition to the interest-bearing account (no fluctuations), we offer various strategies with a small equity component (strategy 20), which are exposed to smaller fluctuations, up to pure equity strategies (strategy 100), which are exposed to larger fluctuations. The questionnaire helps you to find the right strategy for you. Of course, you can adjust the strategy at any time.
Am I protected against market movements?
No. With an investment you are always exposed to the market movements of the stock exchange. If you do not want any fluctuations, you can also open an interest-bearing 3a account with us.
If you don't want to have any fluctuations in the meantime, you can change your strategy at any time and without additional costs and invest again at a later date. However, we generally recommend a "buy and hold" strategy. Our system will then perform the regular monitoring for you.
Do I have a foreign currency risk?
Yes, each of our strategies also invests abroad. The discussion about foreign currency risks is often very superficial and non-transparent. For example, Nestlé, a Swiss share, generates only about 1% of its sales in Swiss francs. In the risk assessment, however, this share is allocated 100% to the Swiss franc. On the other hand, Apple also generates sales in CHF, but is allocated entirely to the USD.
From our point of view, it is important to create the awareness that foreign currencies are indispensable for an investment. These offer both opportunities and risks. It is also not enough to "hedge" the foreign currencies. What is often ignored is that you pay the interest rate difference between the two currencies for a hedge. Historically, in case of Swiss investors the costs of hedging have exceeded the benefits.
Are the implemented index funds and ETFs physically or synthetically replicated?
In selecting our funds, we have made sure that physically replicating funds are used. Physical replication means that the underlying shares of the index are effectively bought by the index fund or ETF provider. Investment in synthetically replicating products is avoided if possible, as they are exposed to counterparty risk.
What is the difference to other pension funds in the third pillar?
Traditional investment funds are often "actively" implemented and try to beat the underlying index (e.g. SMI). However, the active management of assets causes additional expenditure, which is reflected in higher costs. Our strategies, on the other hand, are passively implemented with index funds and ETFs. These reflect the underlying index directly and are correspondingly inexpensive. Our strategies also resemble a modular concept, as several index investments are used for each strategy (per asset class and region). Accordingly, our strategies are only available from VIAC and are not publicly available.
Can I invest in a particular individual security, such as Nestlé?
No. We are convinced that good diversification, which we offer through our broad-based strategies, is the best way to invest in the long term. An important driver for the performance are the costs, which we want to keep as low as possible for our customers. We can only achieve this through a certain degree of standardization.
Can I invest in an index fund or ETF not recommended by VIAC?
No, the fund offering is determined by VIAC and optimized in the best possible way according to costs, tradability and performance. We monitor market developments on an ongoing basis and try to select the best index funds for our clients at all times.
Do I receive dividends from the index funds and ETFs? Are they retained or paid out?
Yes, you can also receive dividends from index funds and ETFs. Some of the index funds and ETFs distribute dividends. In these cases the received money will be credited to your account and reinvested in the next rebalancing if there is a sufficient deviation from your target strategy.
Why is there no investment in bonds in the strategies?
In the current low interest rate environment, we are not using bonds for cost and risk reasons. Bond yields are closely linked to interest rates. In the case of low (or even negative) interest rates, it is therefore possible that costs incurred (administration fee and product costs) may exceed the yield and bonds thus have a negative return. If interest rates rise again one day, bonds will also suffer valuation losses. For these reasons, we currently believe that the positive interest-bearing account is the better solution for our customers.
Are there historical performance data on VIAC investment strategies?
Yes, in the section VIAC Strategies you will find a factsheet with historical performance and other interesting information on each investment strategy.
How does the selection process work for sustainable strategies?
In terms of sustainable implementation, we distinguish between the global and the Swiss equity part.
The global equity part of our sustainable strategies is implemented with sustainable ETFs and index funds based on the MSCI Socially Responsible and the MSCI ESG Leaders Indices. Sustainability is taken into account in various ways:
- First, certain industries are completely excluded. These include alcohol, gambling, tobacco, eroticism, nuclear power, military weapons, civil firearms and genetically modified organisms.
- All remaining industries are then analyzed and evaluated in the second step in the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG for environment, social and governance) areas. The resulting ESG rating ranges from CCC to AAA. A "good" or at least an A must be achieved in order to be included in the index.
- Third, it is also examined whether a company has been subject of controversy (e.g. human rights violations or causing serious environmental damage). Companies with a score of four or higher (on a ten-point scale) are also excluded.
Finally, the best-in-class approach means that in each industry, companies with the best ESG rating are considered first and included in the Index. This happens until 25% (50% in the case of the MSCI ESG Leaders indices) of the market capitalization of the respective industry is reached.
For the Swiss equity component, we rely on the SPI ESG. The SPI ESG excludes companies with an ESG impact rating lower than C+. It also excludes companies that generate more than 5% of their sales in a critical sector (including alcohol, defense, gambling, genetic engineering, nuclear energy, coal and tobacco). The fund also does not invest in companies recommended for exclusion by the Swiss Association for Responsible Investment (SVVK).
PS: By the way, all of our chosen strategies already have a lasting impact. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that we avoid the senseless sending of millions of pages of paper and, on the other hand, we have a tree planted for each VIAC client. These are already over 30'000 trees with which we help to slow down climate change and achieve a real impact: day by day.
Why are there different investment focuses for VIAC investment strategies?
The client can choose between "Global", "Switzerland" and "Global Sustainable". We recommend focusing on "global" in order to keep investment costs as low as possible and spread investment risks as widely as possible. Strategies with investment focus "Switzerland" invest at least 75% in Switzerland across all asset classes. The "Global Sustainable" focus does not invest in gold, companies in the alcohol, gambling, tobacco, eroticism, nuclear power and weapons sectors. In addition, all equity investments outside Switzerland are made in accordance with the strict ESG sustainability criteria. For these sustainable strategies, the sustainable ETFs used cause an average additional cost of about 0.10%.
What criteria are used to select the index investments?
The Terzo Pension Foundation has applied the following selection criteria for the selection of index funds and ETFs:
- Low fees for the client
- Good liquidity for trading
- Low Tracking Error
- Trading spread
- Physical replication
- Minimization of possible tax influences (e.g. stamp taxes)
How broadly diversified are my retirement assets?
Your pension assets are invested globally and diversified. In the standard strategies you participate in the development of more than 2’800 companies worldwide. This clearly minimizes the individual security risk. In addition to the Swiss franc, you are also invested in other currencies, with the US dollar accounting for the largest share of foreign currencies.
What are the advantages of ETFs over other forms of investment?
Index funds and ETFs are characterized by the following features, among others:
- Low fees
- Passive implementation - usually follow an index (you know what you have)
- Efficient diversification; index funds and ETFs in some cases cover several hundred individual stocks
What are index funds and ETFs?
All VIAC strategies are implemented with index funds and ETFs. The main distinguishing feature is trade. In the case of index funds, subscriptions or redemptions take place once a day (primary market and thus exempt from stamp duty), while ETFs (exchange traded funds) are traded directly on the stock exchange (secondary market). Both index funds and ETFs usually follow an index (e.g. SMI for Swiss equities) and try to replicate its performance as accurately as possible. Since they merely follow the index and do not try to actively beat it, they are also called passive investment products. These passive investment funds are particularly suitable for investors who wish to invest in a broadly diversified market with a single transaction at low cost and in the long term.
What is the investment profile for?
By answering 6 simple questions you will find the right strategy for you. Your willingness to take risks has a major influence. If you don't like big fluctuations, you will only be offered low-risk strategies. In addition to risk appetite, risk capacity also plays a major role. This is essentially determined by the investment horizon, which is typically very long in the third pillar. For example, a 30-year-old investor can easily sit out a stock market crisis. This is the case since his investment horizon (period of time in which the money is invested) is around 35 years (that is, until retirement).
What is my money invested in?
Your money is invested globally and diversified. By using index funds and ETFs, you can participate in the development of more than 2’800 companies worldwide (standard strategies). The most important asset classes are equities, real estate and gold, whereby the equity component is tailored to your risk profile. In the current low interest rate environment, bonds are not used for cost and risk reasons (since after fees a negative return would result) - instead of which the positive interest-bearing account is used.
Who is responsible for implementing the offered VIAC strategies?
The Terzo Pension Foundation of WIR Bank is responsible for ensuring that index investments (index funds and ETFs) are selected and used for the benefit of the client. No active asset management is carried out within the strategies.
Risk management of investment strategies
What risks do I take with an investment?
The aim of an investment in pension funds is always to preserve or increase the assets invested. On the other hand, an investment in the financial markets is always associated with various risks. In this way, the value of pension assets can fall or rise. As a rule of thumb, the higher the expected return (the more stocks), the higher the associated risks (the greater the fluctuations). In the implementation process, we strive to minimize the risks for each client, for example, implementation by means of index funds and ETFs is much more broadly based than implementation by means of individual securities.
The most important risks include the following: Price risk, exchange rate risk, counterparty risk, securities lending, interest rate risk and various general economic risks such as inflation, economic activity, geopolitical risks etc.
Is my portfolio being actively implemented by VIAC?
VIAC focuses on passive implementation by means of index investments (index funds and ETFs) combined with active risk management. In daily operation, our intelligent system monitors each portfolio individually on the basis of the selected strategy. Based on this active monitoring, it automatically triggers buy and sell orders 1x monthly in the first rebalancing of the month, so that the strategy of each individual client is always within the chosen ranges.
How often can I buy and sell?
Deposits, transfers and strategy changes will be invested or implemented weekly on Tuesdays. If it is a public holiday, the rebalancing will take place on the next possible trading day. Between Christmas and New Year, there will be no rebalancing due to limited tradability.
How often is my portfolio adjusted?
Your portfolio is checked 1x monthly in the first rebalancing of the month. If necessary, your assets will be returned to the target ratio (more details: Academy).
What is the advantage of rebalancing?
Rebalancing ensures that asset allocation does not deviate too much from the defined strategy. The portfolio thus always meets the client's target strategy.
What does rebalancing mean?
Each customer determines his or her personal strategy in the onboarding process. This defines how the assets are distributed across various asset classes and regions (e.g. 10% equities in Switzerland). As a result of movements in the financial markets, the effective distribution of assets may differ from the defined strategy (in case of good Swiss equity markets, for example, the Swiss equities share may increase to 12%). The automatic rebalancing checks these deviations once a month in the first rebalancing of the month and, if necessary, returns the client's assets to the defined strategy. Deposits, transfers and strategy changes will be invested or implemented weekly.
Are there any costs involved in closing or in the case of early withdrawal?
No. Only in case of an early withdrawal in the context of home ownership promotion, a fee of CHF 300 will be charged unless the financing is provided by WIR Bank. All other closings or early withdrawals are free of charge.
Are there any additional fees for custody account management?
No. The custodian bank's custody fees are already included in the VIAC administration fee of 0.52% p.a. (at most 0.40% p.a. due to the fee cap).
Where can I view my fees paid?
Click on the function element "Profile" and select "Documents". Under "Transaction documents" you will find all charges.
Does the Terzo Pension Fund, WIR Bank or VIAC receive commissions?
No, none of the companies receive any kind of refunds, commissions or retrocessions.
Do I also pay the VIAC administration fee on the interest-bearing cash part?
No, you don't pay an administration fee on the cash part. The administration fee of 0.52% (at most 0.40% p.a. due to the fee cap) is only charged on the invested portion of your pension assets. Your retirement savings account is currently bearing interest of 0.6%. This interest rate is slightly lower than with the classic 3a account of WIR Bank, the "Terzo Konto".
The reason for this is that we do not want to invest our clients in bonds in the current low interest rate environment under any circumstances, as these are currently yielding a negative return after costs. In addition, bonds carry the risk of losses if interest rates rise. With the slightly lower interest rate, we were able to find a good solution with the WIR Bank, which allows everyone to benefit. Our clients have a positive return, pay no fee on the cash portion (a bond investment would be charged) and avoid interest rate risks. For its part, the WIR Bank can attract these funds at a slightly lower price and thus also benefits. Last but not least, we are happy to be able to offer our clients a guaranteed positive return on investment. A classic win-win situation!
PS: If someone wants to optimize further, you can only make the part of the contribution that you want to invest in equities and then choose the Global / Switzerland / Global Sustainable 100 strategy. The share that you then want to hold in cash can be invested with the bank of your choice; for example, in the classic Terzo account. Unfortunately, however, this is accompanied by a little extra effort and the pure equity exposure will then of course fluctuate much more - this would always have to be considered on a consolidated basis.
On what basis is the VIAC administration fee calculated? How is it charged?
The VIAC management fee is calculated monthly on the basis of the average invested assets. No fee will be deducted from the amount in cash. The fee will be debited from your retirement savings account at the beginning of the following month. This does not require the sale of shares in index funds or ETFs, since part of the pension assets is always held in the interest-bearing cash account.
Is there a fee for foreign currency exchange?
Yes, usually there is a fee. Our goal though is to keep any foreign currency exchange as little as possible through VIAC's intelligent calculation system. Thus, in the best case, the fee is at 0% when the purchases and sales of foreign currencies during rebalancing cancel each other out across all customers.
Should the purchase and sale volumes not be identical, the foreign currency fee is only charged on the difference that is actually traded - more information on the settlement system can be found here: Academy. The resulting costs are then distributed proportionately among all customer orders.
Experience shows that, depending on the strategy, one-off costs of a maximum of 0.20% (e.g. Global 100) could occur. Here an example: 60% foreign currency share x 0.3%, whereby the 0.3% corresponds to the effective optimized foreign currency fees for the months June, July and August 2020. Without internal settlement or optimization which VIAC carries out in the interest of its customers, the premium charged by the Bank would be 0.75%. Therefore we pass on 100% of all cost advantages directly to our customers.
Historically and over the long term, the annual average cost of all strategies is less than 0.05%. With other providers, these fees are usually hidden and not disclosed to the customer. They are for instance not included in the TER of a fund. Hence the name "Total Expense Ratio" is misleading as foreign currency hedges, which cause recurring / running costs are also not included in the TER. However, especially in long-term pension plans, such recurring costs are much more important than a one-off fee for the foreign currency exchange.
Why do I still pay product costs in addition to the administration fee?
In case of the index funds and ETFs used, costs of 0.015% on average per year (standard strategies) are incurred within the funds. These product costs are included directly in the index fund or ETF prices. Including the administration fee of 0.52% (at most 0.40% p.a. due to the fee cap), the total costs for a fully invested strategy are less than 0.43% (investment focus: Global and Switzerland). As a result, our product is up to 3 times cheaper than comparable competitor products.
What does the VIAC administration fee include?
The VIAC administration fee is 0.52% per annum (at most 0.40% p.a. due to the fee cap) on the invested pension assets. There is no administration fee on the cash portion. The administration fee covers the trading costs and the fees paid by the custodian bank for cash account and custody account management. This fee also includes all foundation administration fees, technology deployment and support. There are no transaction costs, retrocessions or other commissions.
Closing / Withdrawal
Can I have the securities transferred to my private assets?
No, this is not possible. One of the reasons for this is that the Terzo Pension Foundation can invest in special and extremely favourable index fund tranches. These cannot be invested by private individuals. As a result, you benefit from much lower fees during the savings period in your 3rd pillar. If you want to invest in index investments after your retirement, it is advisable to compare the costs of the providers under the following link.
Can I have the account or securities transferred to another bank?
Yes, this is possible at any time subject to notice. However, we do not transfer any securities; the transfer is always carried out as a bank transfer in CHF.
Do I have to get my 3rd pillar savings when I reach the AHV age?
When you reach the ordinary AHV age, the money must definitely be withdrawn unless you continue to work. In this case, the money must be withdrawn no later than 5 years after reaching the AHV age.
When can I withdraw my 3rd pillar early?
Early withdrawals are possible, among other things, for purchases of owner-occupied residential property, for investments that serve the purpose of housing or for the repayment of the mortgage on owner-occupied residential property. Those who set up their own business or emigrate from Switzerland can also withdraw the money. Under certain conditions, disability may also entitle the holder to claim the 3rd pillar early.
When can I have my 3rd pillar paid out at the earliest?
Normally, the money cannot be drawn until at least 5 years before reaching the normal AHV age. This is currently the case with women at 59 and men at 60 years of age.
How can I close my VIAC portfolio?
Under "Profile / Settings / Close portfolio" you can trigger the closing of a portfolio. Security investments will be sold on the next possible rebalancing day. After concluding the process you will receive a closing order by e-mail. Once we receive your signed closing order, your assets will be transferred within 36 days.
Please send the closing order to the following address: Terzo Pension Foundation, Team VIAC, Auberg 1, 4002 Basel
Should you wish to transfer your VIAC portfolio to another pension foundation, please select "Transfer to other pension institution" in the app and then send us a signed transfer order from the beneficiary pension foundation. Please note the portfolio number (format 18.104.22.1686.01) on this transfer order - we do not have an IBAN or account number.
What notice period do I have if I want to withdraw my pension assets?
Any securities will be sold at the next rebalancing date within a maximum of 31 days. The payout will then be made with a processing time of 5 working days. If your assets are already in cash, the payout may be faster.
Functions App / Documents / Extracts
Problems logging in with fingerprint or FaceID
It may happen that the VIAC App does not accept your fingerprint or FaceID anymore. For example, if you restore the app from a backup on a new smartphone. The reason for this is that the password is stored locally encrypted on your device when using the fingerprint or FaceID. In such cases you have two simple options:
Option 1: Under Profile/Settings/FaceID_Fingerprint first disable the feature, save and activate FaceID or Fingerprint again. If this does not help, please try option 2.
Option 2: Delete and reinstall the VIAC App from the App Store or Google Play. This will reset your settings to default and you will be able to login using your fingerprint or FaceID.
However, both options only work as long as your account is not already blocked. In such cases, it's best to contact us by phone (0800 80 40 40) or chat.
What does the display "Next Rebalancing Day" mean?
On this day, your pension assets will be returned to the target weighting of your strategy if the deviation is large enough. The current weighting of the individual asset classes may differ from the target weighting due to deposits or price changes. Rebalancing helps you to ensure that your retirement assets always develop in line with your defined target strategy.
Do I receive regular reports?
From 2018 onwards, you will receive a semi-annual overview of the development of your pension assets. All reports can be found under "Profile/Documents/Reportings".
Can I automatically receive my tax certificate by e-mail?
Yes, you can make this setting under "Profile/Settings/E-mail delivery of your tax certificate". In this way, you will automatically receive your tax certificate by e-mail at the beginning of the year.
How can I print my receipts?
All documents in the VIAC App can be sent to your e-mail address as PDF files with one click. Just click on the envelope icon next to each receipt.
Will I receive a tax certificate for my tax return at the end of the year?
Yes, the tax certificate will be automatically sent to your e-mail address in January. You can also find them under "Documents" in your "Profile".
Do I have an overview of every single transaction in the app?
Yes, you can use the VIAC app to view every single transaction and securities event and, if necessary, send it to a desired e-mail address as a PDF file.
Can VIAC adjust my strategy for me?
No, this is not possible. VIAC is a pure self-management platform, so you as a customer must adjust your strategy yourself in the VIAC App or VIAC Web version. To do so, simply click on the tile "Strategy" and select "Adjust strategy". The strategy adjustment is implemented on the next weekly trading day on the following Tuesday. VIAC only accepts strategy adjustments entered directly via app/web version. Strategy adjustments in the form of emails or other communication channels cannot be accepted.
What are the specific tasks of VIAC?
VIAC's service includes the following simplified services:
- We maintain a globally diversified portfolio for each investment strategy, selecting the best and most cost-effective index funds and ETFs.
- With our automated rebalancing mechanism, we monitor your portfolio on an ongoing basis and track the weightings of your investments to your target weighting on a monthly basis if necessary. In other words, if the weighting of an index investment has increased by more than 2% (e.g. due to price gains), the profit is realized and the weighting is reduced to the target weighting. On the other hand, if the weighting of an index investment has fallen by more than 2% (e.g. due to price losses), it is bought back at the lower price and the weighting is increased to the target weighting. We do not charge any additional costs for these transactions.
- As soon as you have made a deposit or one of the investments has paid a dividend, we invest this money in your investment strategy without your intervention and without any additional costs.
- In the VIAC App we will show you at any time the development of your pension assets and inform you about the remaining deposit capacity of the current tax period. This way you always have an overview of your pension assets.
Do I receive investment advice from VIAC?
No, this is not possible. VIAC is a pure self-management platform, VIAC does not provide investment consulting. The VIAC App supports you in determining your personal investment type by means of 6 simple questions in the opening process. Based on your investment type you will receive a personal investment proposal, which you can override at any time. VIAC ensures 1x monthly in the first rebalancing of the month that your portfolio follows the chosen strategy. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our staff via chat or helpline (0800 80 40 40) at any time.
What are the advantages of the VIAC solution?
- Simplicity: In developing the VIAC app, we have focused on making securities saving comprehensible to all investors. The key figures are reduced to the most important ones and explained in a simple language. The tedious journey to the bank is spared. Within three clicks you can retrieve all information. The VIAC App offers you the possibility to get an overview of your personal pension assets at any time and anywhere.
- Comfort: We want to relieve you of all annoying tasks as far as possible. It has never been so easy to save taxes and fees. With the App-based approach, you can open your 3rd pillar account at any time and place and deposit money instantly. The investment of the pension assets according to the chosen strategy is then automated. Our intelligent system also ensures that the interest and dividends received are reinvested, so that the compound interest effect is used as efficiently as possible. We also give you the greatest possible freedom when making a deposit - which is already possible from 1 CHF. This way you can deposit when and as much as you want, at no extra cost.
- Low fees: Fees are also always a yield guzzler. This is particularly pronounced in the case of long-term investments - including the third pillar. For this reason, we have focused on the lowest possible costs for our clients in the entire development of our system, as well as in the selection of the index investments used, without compromising on quality. Whether it's software development, hosting or customer service - we rely on Swiss quality. Our offer proves that low costs are compatible with top service and quality.
- Broad diversification: Diversification refers to the distribution of invested capital across several asset classes (e.g. equities, real estate etc.) or within an asset class over several individual securities. Specific risks can be minimized through good diversification. If an investor would only bet on 2 shares and one of them would have a negative yield, this could already have a negative impact on the overall result. Our strategies always combine several asset classes. Each asset class is in turn made up of several broadly based indices, which we map with index funds and ETFs. For example, a single strategy consists of more than 2'800 individual securities - if a single security pays off negatively, this has in most cases hardly any influence.
- No investments in bonds that pay off negatively after costs: In contrast to our competitors, we are not using bonds in the current low interest rate environment for cost and risk reasons. Bond yields are closely linked to interest rates. In the case of low (or even negative) interest rates, it is therefore possible that costs incurred (administrative fee and product costs) may exceed the yield and bonds thus have a negative return. If interest rates rise again one day, bonds will also suffer valuation losses. For these reasons, we currently believe that the positive interest-bearing account is the better solution for our customers.
- Autopilot for your Pillar 3a: VIAC takes care of all the tasks for you, you only have to pay in yourself. We automatically trigger the buy and sell orders, so that your pension assets are always within the chosen ranges. We take care of reinvestment of interest, dividends, payments and transfers. We optimize stamp duty, bid-ask spread and foreign currency exchange fees for you. Always with the goal of offering our customers the best product at the lowest cost.
- Sustainability: Our goal is to use resources as sparingly as possible. That's why we rely on a 100% digital and almost paperless offer. With our strategies, you can choose an implementation that is specifically geared to sustainability. Our office space and the servers are also operated with green electricity.