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.
What happens to my vested benefits account in the event of a divorce?
Assets of the mandatory occupational pension scheme, including the vested benefits account, are divided in half in the event of a divorce. However, this only applies to the part that was saved during the marriage.
Can I make voluntary contributions to the vested benefits account?
No, voluntary contributions to the vested benefits account are not permitted. Only Pillar 2 funds that are already tied up can be transferred to the vested benefits account - these funds come from a pension fund, a vested benefits account or a vested benefits insurance policy.
I have found a job again. Do I have to transfer my vested benefits assets to the pension fund of my new employer?
Yes, under the law on vested benefits, you are obliged to transfer all your vested benefits to the pension fund of your new employer.
What happens to my vested benefit assets when I leave Switzerland?
If you leave Switzerland permanently and move to a member state of the EU or EFTA where you are still subject to compulsory insurance, it is not possible to pay out the mandatory portion of your vested benefits assets. It therefore remains in the vested benefits account and can only be paid out when you reach ordinary AHV/AVS retirement age. You can have the extra-mandatory part paid out when you leave Switzerland.
If you move to a country outside the EU/EFTA, you can withdraw the entire vested benefits assets.
You are not sure whether you are subject to compulsory insurance in your new country of residence? The best way to find out is to contact the BVG Guarantee Fund.
What happens to my vested benefits assets in the event of death?
In the event of death, your vested benefits assets will be transferred to the following beneficiaries - in the order listed:
- Spouse or registered partner. Minor children or children under 25, provided they are still in education.
- Persons who have supported you financially (maintenance). A person with whom you lived together in the last 5 years before your death (cohabitation). A person with whom you have at least one child and who is responsible for the maintenance of the child
- Other children, your parents and siblings
- Other persons entitled to inherit according to Swiss inheritance law as well as last will and testament
Pure account solution or invest a part of it in securities?
Since your vested benefits account serves for pension provision, you can only withdraw money in a few exceptional cases 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!
In which cases regulated by law can I dissolve my vested benefits account?
You can withdraw your vested benefits account in accordance with the statutory regulations. The most important reasons for withdrawal 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
- Minor nature (Vested benefits assets less than current annual BVG/LPP contribution)
As soon as you are accepted into a pension fund (e.g. resumption of employment), you are obliged to transfer the entire existing pension assets to the new pension fund. In addition, a transfer to another vested benefits foundation is possible at any time.
When does it make sense to open a vested benefits account?
- You are temporarily or permanently no longer employed (stay abroad, interruption of employment, further training, unemployment or childcare) and must transfer the pension fund assets to a vested benefits account
- You have changed your employer and cannot transfer all of your previously accumulated vested benefits to the new pension fund
- You become self-employed and do not join a pension fund
- Your income is now - e.g. due to part-time work or a change of job - below the limit in the occupational pension plan (CHF 21'330; as of 2019)
- As part of divorce proceedings, you are entitled to a part of your spouse's pension assets
Do I have to pay tax on my vested benefit assets?
No, there are no wealth, income or withholding taxes during the term. Your vested benefits assets are only taxed at a reduced rate when they are withdrawn.
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
Am I a customer of VIAC AG or the Vested Benefits Foundation of the WIR Bank?
By using the VIAC App, you enter into a contractual relationship with the Vested Benefits 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 Vested Benefits 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 transfer vested benefits assets to VIAC. 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.
Is there a minimum term for my vested benefits with VIAC?
No. You can always close your vested benefits account with VIAC. All securities will be sold on the next weekly trading day on the following Tuesday. After the notice period of 31 days, you can transfer your vested benefits assets to another vested benefits foundation or new pension fund. This is free of charge with VIAC.
Who can establish a relationship at VIAC?
Basically, any person over the age of 18 can open a relationship with VIAC. Of course, vested benefits assets must be available, which can be transferred to the VIAC vested benefits relationship. You may not make ongoing payments to the vested benefits account.
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 vested benefits savings account. However, ongoing payments are not possible - only existing pension fund or vested benefits assets can be transferred.
Can I open multiple VIAC vested benefits accounts?
No, only one vested benefits relationship can be maintained with VIAC. It is not permitted to manage two accounts with the same vested benefits foundation. If you transfer your assets to the VIAC vested benefits relationship, the money is divided into the mandatory and extra-mandatory segments. The strategy can be defined separately for each segment.
When withdrawing money from the pension fund, vested benefits assets can often be split between several vested benefits foundations; subsequent splitting is not permitted by law. You can change the vested benefits foundation at any time, in which case the entire assets of the relationship are transferred to the new vested benefits foundation.
How do I open a vested benefits account with VIAC?
It's very simple: Start the opening process at www.viac.ch by clicking on "Register" and then select the "Vested Benefits" product during onboarding, have your ID / passport ready and open the vested benefits account 100% digitally in less than ten minutes.
Security and privacy
Can a third party steal money from my vested benefits 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 Vested Benefits Foundation via the app. In principle, our solution is safer than any e-banking solution.
Where’s my money?
Your money is at the Vested Benefits Foundation of the WIR Bank. The cash portion is in the Vested Benefits Foundation’s interest-bearing collective account. Credit Suisse or ZKB act as custodian banks for securities within the Vested Benefits 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 vested benefits assets at VIAC?
No, the cash assets of all vested benefits 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. 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 held at Credit Suisse or ZKB. 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 Vested Benefits Foundation of the WIR Bank. The Vested Benefits 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 19 February 2003 and has already been entrusted with more than CHF 750 million in client assets.
If the WIR Bank finds itself in financial difficulties, it is the task of the Vested Benefits 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. 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 held at Credit Suisse or ZKB. 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
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. The payout is also always made in CHF.
Are there any fees for deposits or withdrawals?
No. Deposits and withdrawals are free of charge on our part.
May I open several VIAC vested benefits relationships?
No. With VIAC, only one vested benefits relationship can be maintained. It is not permitted to manage two accounts with the same vested benefits institution.
Can I take my money back?
Yes, you can transfer your money to another vested benefits foundation 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 vested benefits assets early.
When will my transferred vested benefits assets be invested?
If your vested benefits assets are transferred from your previous pension institution (vested benefits foundation or pension fund), this pension institution will send us a withdrawal statement showing the allocation of the mandatory/extra-mandatory assets. When your assets are received, they are parked in your personal transitory account and earn interest. As soon as we can make the allocation on the basis of the withdrawal statement, the transitory account will be closed and your vested benefits assets will be allocated to the "Mandatory" and "Extra-Mandatory" segments. Only after allocation will your vested benefits assets be invested in the selected strategies (a separate strategy can be defined for each segment) with the next weekly rebalancing. Rebalancing takes place weekly on Tuesdays.
May I deposit money from my private assets into my VIAC vested benefits account?
No. Only existing vested benefits assets or assets from the pension fund (2nd pillar) may be transferred.
How can I transfer my pension fund assets to VIAC?
After you have completed the opening process, you will enter your personal VIAC Cockpit. There you click on the navigation element "Transfer" on the left and can generate your ready-made transfer order. All you need to do is print it out, complete it with the details of your existing pension institution and the previous insurance or contract number, sign it and send it to WIR Bank's vested benefits foundation. After checking your order, we will send the form to the corresponding pension institution.
How can I transfer existing vested benefits assets?
After you have completed the opening process, you will enter your personal VIAC Cockpit. There you click on the navigation element "Transfer" on the left and can generate your ready-made transfer order. All you need to do is print it out, complete it with the details of your existing pension fund / vested benefits foundation and the previous insurance or contract number, sign it and send it to Vested benefits foundation of WIR Bank, Team VIAC, Auberg 1, 4002 Basel.
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).
What is the transitory account for?
When your assets are transferred to the collective account of the WIR Bank Vested Benefits Foundation, they will be credited to your personal transitory account. The money remains in this transitory account until the required withdrawal statement from the previous pension institution arrives. On the basis of this withdrawal statement, the allocation to the segments "Mandatory" and "Extra-Mandatory" is made. As long as the money remains in the transitory account, it will not be invested in your chosen strategy.
Can I determine a separate strategy for each segment?
Yes, a separate strategy can be determined for each segment. It is also possible to define a different investment focus.
Why is the VIAC vested benefits solution divided into the segments "Mandatory" and "Extra-Mandatory"?
In most cases, your vested benefits solution consists of an mandatory portion (BVG/LPP) and an extra-mandatory portion. This distinction must be guaranteed at all times. With VIAC, you now have the option to define a different strategy for the mandatory portion (which is intended to secure your livelihood) that may involve less risk (max. 80% equities) than that for the extra-mandatory segment (up to 97% equities). By default, however, the same strategy is defined for both segments at the beginning.
Can I change the composition of my portfolio independently?
You can change the strategy at any time. You can also create your own individual strategy.
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 pension plans, 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 vested benefits account with VIAC without investing in securities?
Yes, it is our goal to offer an optimal solution for every investment type. Our account is interest-bearing and free of charge.
When will my vested benefits assets be invested?
Once VIAC has received your assets, they will earn interest on your transitory account. As soon as a detailed withdrawal statement from the previous pension institution is available, your assets will be allocated to the "Mandatory" and "Extra-Mandatory" segments. After this allocation, your assets are automatically invested in the chosen strategy with the next weekly Trading Day on the following Tuesday.
Investment strategies / selection of index investments
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.
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 select an interest-bearing vested benefits account with us by choosing the "VB Account" strategy.
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 of competitors?
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 reinvested or paid out?
Yes, you also receive dividends from index funds and ETFs. Some index funds and ETFs pay out dividends. In these cases, the money you receive is credited to your account and, if the difference to your target ratio is large enough, reinvested in the next rebalancing.
Why do I have to stick to bandwidths when choosing my own strategy?
The investment regulations (BVV2) define the bandwidths when it comes to defining an individual strategy. We have extended this scope as far as possible in favour of our customers, so that the statutory restrictions will only occasionally prevent you from implementing your strategy. However, you should always bear in mind that this is pension money. We recommend that only very experienced investors put together their own 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.
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.
What criteria are used to select the index investments?
The Vested Benefits 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 pension provision. 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 Vested Benefits 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 element "Documents". There you will find all fee statements.
Does the Vested Benefits Foundation, 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 any administration fee on the cash part. The administration fee of 0.52% (at most 0.40% p.a. due to the fee cap) is calculated only on the invested part of your pension assets. You can find the current interest rate on your cash part at any time on our homepage www.viac.ch/vested-benefits.
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 0.5%. 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 (Exception: With the "Account Plus" strategy, the 5% invested portion is not subject to an administration fee). 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 Vested Benefits 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. If you want to invest in index investments after your retirement, it is advisable to compare the costs of the providers here: www.justetf.com.
Can I have the vested benefits relationship 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.
Is it possible to receive an annuity upon retirement instead of closing the vested benefits account?
No, this is not possible. If a withdrawal is made, the entire account is paid out in a single payment. An annuity is not offered.
When can I withdraw my vested benefits 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 vested benefits early.
Do I have to withdraw my vested benefits when I reach the AHV age?
No. Vested benefits must be withdrawn no later than 5 years after reaching AHV retirement age.
When can I have my vested benefits 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.
Is there a notice period if I wish to withdraw my pension assets?
No. 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.
How can I close my vested benefits account?
Under Settings / Vested benefits, you can initiate the closing process yourself. All securities will then be sold on the next weekly trading day on the following Tuesday.
At the same time, you will receive a closing order by e-mail. As soon as the closing order has been signed and returned to the Vested Benefits Foundation of WIR Bank, your vested benefits account will be closed. The transfer is made after the sale of your securities. In addition, a withdrawal statement will be sent to your new vested benefits foundation or pension fund.
Functions App / Documents / Extracts
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?
Yes. You will receive a semi-annual report on the development of your pension assets. You will find all reports under "Documents".
How can I print my receipts?
All documents in the VIAC web version can be opened with one click as PDF. You can print out each document if necessary.
Do I have an overview of every single transaction in the web version?
Yes, you can view each individual transaction and security event via the VIAC web version and, if required, open or print the corresponding statement as a PDF file.
Can I use the VIAC vested benefits solution via VIAC Mobile App?
No, the VIAC Vested Benefits Solution is currently only available in the VIAC Web version on a computer or tablet.
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 fees. With the App-based approach, you can open your vested benefits account at any time and place and set up a transfer 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.
- Low fees: Fees are also always a yield guzzler. This is particularly pronounced in the case of long-term investments - including vested benefits assets. 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 (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.
- Autopilot for your vested benefits: 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.