Banking News

frankly Pillar 3a App from ZKB Review

March 19, 2020

frankly is the new app-based Pillar 3a investment solution from the Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB). Here, independent comparison service moneyland.ch reviews frankly and compares it to competing solutions.

Click here for frankly's pension solutions (including voucher).

Swiss retirement funds are relatively expensive. In 2017, the launch of Viac introduced a significantly more affordable pillar 3a investment solution. Viac based its service on robo advisors used in wealth management, a service that was not yet available for Swiss pillar 3a retirement savings.

From March 19, 2020, the Zürcher Kantonalbank is offering frankly, a digital pillar 3a solution. “The Swiss market for digital retirement solutions is still largely undeveloped, so its potential for growth is strong,” believes moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz.

1. How much does frankly cost?

The 8 investment options from the Zürcher Kantonalbank which are available via frankly are based on 4 passive and 4 active Swisscanto funds. Front-end and back-end loads apply to the four passive investment strategies. The four active strategies use swinging single pricing. frankly itself does not charge brokerage fees or custodial fees. You can find more information on what these terms mean in the guide to investment fund costs.

The 0.48% annual total expense ratio (TER) is identical across all frankly funds. However, the true total costs vary between 0.48% and 0.52% when front-end and back-end loads are accounted for. The differences in costs between risk profiles and investment strategies are minimal.

Addendum 2023: The flat fee is now only 0.45% per year.

2. How does frankly compare to conventional retirement funds?

moneyland.ch studied the average costs of Swiss retirement funds (excluding ZKB funds) to determine how frankly compares to conventional retirement fund solutions in terms of costs. The arithmetic average total costs of the included 51 retirement funds combined is 1.21% per annum. The arithmetic average total cost of the lowest-cost fund included in the study is 0.24% per annum and that of the highest-cost fund included is 1.7% per annum. The arithmetic average TER for all funds included in the study is 1.05% per annum.

The funds offered by the Zürcher Kantonalbank through frankly have an average cost well below the average for retirement funds as a whole. When compared to the average cost of all studied retirement funds combined, the 0.49% total cost of investing through frankly is less than half of the 1.21% average cost of other retirement funds (excluding ZKB funds). Interestingly, the funds offered through frankly are also notably cheaper than ZKB’s conventional retirement funds which have total costs between 0.8% and 1.33% depending on the fund.

3. How does frankly compare to Viac?

Viac is an Internet-based pillar 3a wealth management solution. The startup successfully launched its app-based solution in collaboration with WIR Bank in 2017.

Viac charges a wealth management fee of 0.52% per annum – but only on the portion of assets which are invested in the stock market. Depending on the strategy used, the portion of pillar 3a assets invested in stock ETFs may be relatively small.

In addition to the wealth management fee, you pay the TERs of the ETFs and Index funds used. The funds used by Viac have very low TERs, with the average TER being 0.025% per annum. Depending on the investment strategy you choose, the total costs of using Viac can be as low as 0.17% per annum and as high as 0.61% per annum. That makes the total costs of Viac similar to those of frankly, but it may be cheaper or more expensive than frankly depending on your investment strategy.

4. How does frankly compare with Selma

Selma is a digital wealth management startup. Selma recently launched a pillar 3a wealth management solution in collaboration with Vermögenszentrum VZ. For this service, Selma charges a wealth management fee of 0.68% per annum. You pay fund TERs averaging 0.22% per annum in addition to that fee. That makes Selma more expensive than both frankly and Viac.

5. Verdict

The launch of an affordable pillar 3a investment solution by a major Swiss bank is a welcome move. The launch of frankly by the ZKB will likely drive other larger banks to offer more affordable pillar 3a investment solutions. Over the long term, this could result in a general lowering of the costs of investing Swiss pillar 3a assets. We can expect to see numerous new solutions being offered through digital channels in the future.

More on this topic:
Click here for frankly's pension solutions (including voucher)
Retirement fund comparison
Costs of retirement fund explained
Guide to investing in retirement funds

3a retirement funds comparison

Find the best retirement fund now

Compare now for free
Trading platforms

Brokers with low fees

Swiss Broker


  • Swiss online bank

  • No additional exchange charges

  • No transaction fees for Swiss equities

Swiss Broker

Saxo Bank Switzerland

  • Swiss online bank

  • Favorable prices stock trading

  • High account interest rates

Swiss Broker


  • Swiss online bank

  • No custody fees for stocks

  • Free market research and trading signals

Wealth managers in comparison

Find the most favorable wealth management now

Compare now for free