Banking News

3a Retirement Savings: Previous Age Limits For Moving Banks Fall Away

August 24, 2014 - Benjamin Manz

Women are entitled to withdraw pillar 3a retirement savings from the time they turn 59 years old. Men can withdraw these when they reach the age of 60.

The retirement savings held in the voluntary third pillar are no longer untouchable after that point. Any assets you withdraw are taxed as income.

Previous age limit for changing pillar 3a accounts no longer applies

An update published by the Federal Social Insurance Office on June 23, 2014, states that the transfer of pillar 3a savings to an alternative 3a solution is now possible after the age of 59 or 60, for women and men respectively.

This was decided by a work group of the Swiss Tax Conference in which the Federal Tax Administration also participated.

Banks are obligated to accept a switch

Until now, Swiss tax authorities have taken the stance of forbidding transfers of pillar 3a bank accounts from one bank or insurance company to another financial services provider once the account holder has reached the age of 59 (or 60 in the case of men).

That viewpoint no longer applies. From now on, even after pillar 3a asset holders reach the 59/60 age limit, they can shift their assets to another account from a different provider.

Banks and insurance companies can no longer prevent the transfer of customer assets to a third pillar solution offered by another service provider. However, they are allowed to charge a special transfer fee.

Verdict: Performing a regular comparison of 3a services also makes sense as individuals near retirement age. With the freedom to move to another 3a solution at any time, retirement savings holders are now able to take advantage of better interest yield offers.

Insurance policies are an exception

Insurance policies with fixed maturity dates are an exception to the rule. It is not possible to transfer retirement assets from this type of policy to another 3a service.

However, you can apply to extend a pillar 3a policy by up to five years after the AHV retirement age.

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of moneyland.ch and an independent expert on banking and finance.