Heinz Rothacher, managing director of Swiss consultancy Complementa, counters: “The mandatory minimum conversion rate (Umwandlungssatz) has to be cut as soon as possible.” The conversion rate is used to calculate members’ annual pension payments from the accrued total and it is set upon entering the mandatory second pillar.Legally, Pensionskassen have to calculate mandatory occupational pension payments at a 6.8% rate which – as all experts agree – is too high in the current market environment.However, as most employers in Switzerland are paying more than the mandatory minimum into a Pensionskasse, providers can set a lower conversion rate for these additional assets.Most recently, the UBS Pensionskasse announced a new record cut to 4.42% in an attempt to make the accrued assets last longer during retirement.For Zanella this rate is “very low and only justified if future pension increases in line with asset performance is provided”.Rothacher said this cut “assumes interest rate levels will stay for very long time as low as today, which might not be reflecting the reality in the future”. The new level “might therefore be too low”, he added. Sunset in Zurich, SwitzerlandTrust in the systemRothacher fears the rate cuts by various pension funds “will have a negative impact as savers might start to wonder why they even should be saving in the very rigid second pillar”.He calculates that a conversion rate of just over 4.4% only amounts to a 1.5% long-term return.“The trust in the occupational pension system is at stake,” warns Rothacher.However, for Zanella it “is possible to keep on sailing around the problem of the minimum conversion rate – but why should we?”Instead, Zanella wants to see this technical parameter removed from the law, especially for the sake of people in low-income industries as these seldom pay more than the minimum into a Pensionskasse.“These people suffer the most as pension funds which only work with the legal minimum amount of contributions have to use active members’ assets to pay for pensions,” Zanella explains.Both he and Rothacher agree there should be more transparency to what higher conversion rates actually mean for people – especially for the younger generation, which eventually will get lower pensions.State pension fund facing shortfallThe more pressing issue at the moment, however, is the financial situation of the first pillar buffer fund AHV, which is facing a major dip around 2024 with Switzerland’s baby boomers reaching retirement.Just before Christmas, Alain Berset, minister for social affairs, presented a new reform proposal prioritising the first pillar. This has to be debated and put into a legal draft, meaning it could be a while before any results are seen. In addition, Switzerland has a general elections in 2019.No matter when the reform comes, Zanella hopes “there will not be too many new regulations” increasing complexity.Rothacher emphasises that trustee boards should not wait on the Swiss government but rather make alterations to their technical parameters as soon as possible.See also: Goodbye AV2020 (from IPE magazine, November 2017) Four months after the failed referendum on a comprehensive Swiss pension reform, there is widespread disagreement on how to proceed.On September 24, Swiss voters rejected the Altersvorsorge 2020 reform package, a comprehensive and – as most agree – over-complex proposal for amendments in both the first and second pillar pension systems.Even among second-pillar experts there is no consensus on the urgency of reforming the occupational pension system, the BVG.“Although desirable, a reform of the technical parameters is not urgent, especially at the cost of a new, more complex system,” says Peter Zanella, managing director at Willis Towers Watson Switzerland.
EL SEGUNDO — The last time they spoke, fires raged in the hills of Los Angeles.When the Getty Fire threatened several residential areas in late October, there were more than a few NBA players who were fearful they might have to relocate, Paul George among them. That was when he heard from his old coach, Frank Vogel, offering him a place to stay if he needed it.“He reached out, giving support, ‘If you need anything,’” George said last week. “If we need a house to stay, he opened the doors for me. But he’s got his thing going, and I got mine.”That’s the kind of relationship Vogel and George, a player-and-coach tandem that had a six-year run with the Indiana Pacers have now. It’s close, like family, but distant, which can also be like family. Even though they share the same city, and even though they presumably see each other’s faces on billboards, hear each other’s voices in advertisements and think a good deal about how to beat one another, there’s space between them that’s hard to bridge – and yet in times of crisis, it’s not that hard at all. Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and other NBA stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant For his part, Vogel downplayed the exchange in October, saying it was “just what a friend would do.” But what else is he supposed to say two days before a Lakers-Clippers showdown on Christmas Day at Staples Center? Even while Anthony Davis and LeBron James are questionable for the game, Vogel’s connection with George, who missed the first Lakers-Clippers meeting, gives the nationally televised matchup a bit of an edge.“I love those guys and they’ll be family forever,” he said, lumping in George with other old Pacers. “But on Christmas Day, they’re the enemy. He’s the enemy, I guess. The Clippers are.”As much as Vogel might play down the relationship, the two men are inexorably linked for the effect they had on one another’s careers.George was a raw rookie when Vogel took over as interim coach in 2011, and it was Vogel who gave him his first career start. As George grew into a headlining superstar in Indiana, Vogel’s teams took off, reaching the Eastern Conference finals in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014.There’s a certain irony that the coach who would shelter him from the fire was the one who threw him into it at the beginning of his career. Video: What LeBron James said about Jacob Blake … ‘Black people in America are scared’ Photos: Lakers defeat Trail Blazers in Game 4 of first-round playoff series For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory “He definitely helped with my development by throwing me out there, throwing me into the fire, giving me that experience, letting me learn on the fly, make mistakes,” George said. “He definitely helped with my development of just film work, watching games, watching plays. The experience is what helped the most by allowing me to play and letting me learn and just being out there.”True to form, Vogel said George’s minutes were ones he earned by playing defense.“Offensively, he was very raw and had a long way to go from a development standpoint and from perimeter shooting and passing the basketball,” he said. “You can’t grow if you’re not getting opportunities on the court. … Since he had in his rookie year the ability to stay on the floor defensively, that’s what gave me confidence to throw him out there for long stretches and help him grow his offensive game.”Related Articles George’s injury in 2014, a compound fracture of his lower leg, had a disastrous impact for Indiana the following year, and it was the first big backstep for Vogel’s Pacers. After the next season, when the Pacers stagnated and lost in the first round, Vogel and Indiana parted ways in 2016. A year later, George requested a trade out of Indiana.Nate McMillan recently acknowledged it was odd to see Vogel teaming up with LeBron James, the player that those Pacers attempted to unseat for years. But in a way, George seemed to understand why the Lakers scooped him up. In grinding seasons, Vogel helped pick up the team.“My whole time what made it so remarkable and so great with the system that he had was just positive, very positive influence, and it was great,” George said. “Tough days, long days, tough road trips, he always found the positive and it was great. It was a great flow to the locker room and it translated onto the court.”BRIEFLYThe Lakers said James (thoracic muscle strain) and Davis (right knee soreness) are both questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Clippers. … The Lakers participated in Secret Santa on Monday. Kyle Kuzma said he received a shoulder bag from Davis, while he gifted Quinn Cook with a kitchen table.Mirjam Swanson contributed to this story. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error On Mamba Night, the Lakers make short work of Blazers to take 3-1 series lead