Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution

The Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution is a foundation which operates on behalf of the Swiss federal government. It is mandated with the task of ensuring that residents have access to the services otherwise provided by occupational pension funds and vested benefits foundations.

One of the foundation's mandates is to manage vested benefits which have not been either withdrawn or transferred to vested benefits foundations by their beneficial owners. Benefits remain vested in the Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution until they are claimed by their owners. You can find more information on this topic here.

The foundation also offers pension plans for self-employed individuals and residents who work for employers outside of EFTA and the EU (ANobAG). This provides a solution for self-employed and ANobAG individuals to contribute to their occupational pension fund (pillar 2), even if they are unable to join a regular pension fund.

Another of the foundation's responsibilities is to ensure that unemployed individuals remain insured against the risks of disability and death. If you receive Swiss social unemployment insurance benefits, the Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution provides the disability insurance and survivor's insurance which employed people receive from their pension funds. This is compulsory. Half of the insurance premiums are deducted from your unemployment benefits. The unemployment office covers the other half.

As an unemployed individual receiving unemployment benefits, you have the option of voluntarily subscribing to a pension plan from the Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution within 3 months of becoming unemployed. This enables you to contribute to your pillar 2 pension benefits on a tax-deductible basis, which is otherwise only possible if you are employed and have an occupational pension fund. You can also insure yourself on a voluntary basis against the risks of disability and death.

If you meet certain criteria, you can remain covered by a Substitute Occupational Benefit Institution pension plan and/or disability and survivor's insurance even after you stop receiving unemployment benefits. Criteria include being at least 58 years old when you become unemployed, and losing your job as opposed to quitting.

More on this topic:
Swiss 3a retirement account comparison
Swiss vested benefits account comparison

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Editor Daniel Dreier
Daniel Dreier is editor and personal finance expert at moneyland.ch.