Key Data About the Swiss Pension System

Knowledge for getting the most from advinda Premiumā€™s goCH&A Pension & Insurance Investor Intelligence Package.

Population: 8.1 million

Pension system design

The pension system in Switzerland has three pillars:

  • mandatory basic state insurance scheme,
  • mandatory second pillar: occupational pensions and
  • private (voluntary) pensions

The compulsory second pillar system means Switzerland is one of the few countries where the three pillars contribute almost equally to old-age income.


Public pension

  • old-age and survivor pension insurance (Alters- und Hinterlassenenversicherung / L’assurance-vieillesse et survivants / Assicurazione per la vecchiaia e per i superstiti), aims to cover the basic needs of retirees
  • obligatory for all employees, self-employers and all people domiciled in Switzerland, incl. those without work (contributions depend on social circumstances)
  • mainly pay-as-you-go financed
  • covers all persons domiciled and working in Switzerland
  • benefits depend on height of working income and period of contributions
  • eligibility as soon as contributions have been paid for one full year

Men are eligible from the age of 65 and women from the age of 64. Swiss Parliament concluded in March 2017 a reform (ā€œAltersvorsorge 2020ā€) of the pension system with regard to pillar 1 and 2 which needs to be voted upon by the Swiss population. One change is the rise of womenā€™s retirement age to 65, another one more flexibility of retirement age in the occupational pension.

Occupational pensions

  • workplace-based and mandatory: berufliche Vorsorge / Prevoyance Professionelle / Previdenza professionale
  • mandatory for employees whose annual earnings exceed CHF 21,150 per year (2017) with the same employer
  • contributions are paid in equal parts by employer and employee
  • voluntary for the self-employed
  • minimum prevention is prescribed
  • both employee and regular employer contributions are exempted from tax

Private pension

Private pensions form a third pillar fixed in the constitution and is mainly characterized through its fiscal privilege. Two parts: free self-prevention (personal savings) and bonded prevention (facilitation through fiscal and property politics)

Private pension investments equivalent to: 123.0% of GDP (2015)

Private pension assets 2015: $ 794,357.6 million USD (all forms of private investment with a value associated to a pension plan over which ownership rights are enforced by institutional units, individually or collectively. This indicator is measured in millions of USD; source: OECD)

Pension fundsā€™ assets 2015: $ 794,357.6 million USD (assets bought with the contributions to a pension plan for the exclusive purpose of financing pension plan benefits. The pension fund is a pool of assets forming an independent legal entity. This indicator is measured in millions of USD; source: OECD)

Net pension replacement rate 2014: 46.9% (individual net pension entitlement divided by net pre-retirement earnings; measures how effectively a pension system provides a retirement income to replace earnings. This indicator is measured in percentage of pre-retirement earnings by gender; source: OECD)


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) –

Bundesamt fĆ¼r Sozialversicherungen ā€“ www.bsv.admin.ch