The sums are staggering: Over 6 billion Swiss francs have found their way into the Swiss Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution from more than 850,000 accounts - an average of 7500 Swiss francs per account.
This is money from occupational pension funds which is not claimed by employees who leave Switzerland, change jobs, become self-employed or become unemployed and do not claim their pension fund benefits.
In Switzerland, it is up to employees to claim their benefits from occupational pension funds when leaving employers. Employees who change jobs must transfer their benefits to their new employer’s pension fund. Individuals who become unemployed and those who leave Switzerland and take up residence in EU or EFTA countries must transfer their benefits to Swiss vested benefits accounts. Individuals who move to non-EU or EFTA countries can cash out their benefits.
Retirement assets which are not claimed within a 2-year grace period are turned over to the Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution. This privately managed retirement institute manages assets on behalf of the federal government and invests the money using (primarily) passive investment vehicles.
The Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution attempts to contact the rightful owners of forgotten assets – with surprisingly little success. In 70 percent of cases, no usable contact information for the owners of benefits is found. The primary losers are temporary and seasonal workers who come to work Switzerland for relatively short periods of time and then leave without claiming their benefits from their employer’s pension fund.
When you change Swiss employers, it is very important that you have your savings transferred to your new employer’s pension fund. If you do not move to a new Swiss employer, you must have the pension fund transfer your benefits to a vested benefits account of your choice. Ideally, this should be the account with the highest interest yields. You can easily compare interest rates using the moneyland.ch vested benefits account comparison.
If you did not transfer your second pillar savings from a former employer and more than two years have gone by since you stopped working for them, you can still recover your pension benefits. Simply contact the LOB Guarantee Fund. This office will assist you in recovering your benefits.