The LLB Group has established a number of pension plans in compliance with prevailing legal provisions, which insure most employees in the event of death, invalidity and retirement. In addition, further plans exist for long-service anniversaries, which qualify as other long-term employee benefits. In the case of the pension plans, contributions are made by employees, which are then supplemented by corresponding contributions from the LLB Group. The pension schemes are financed in compliance with the local legal and fiscal regulations. The risk benefits are based on the insured salary and the pension benefits on the accumulated capital. The assets of the funded pension plans are held within separate foundations or insurances and may not revert to the employer. The mortality rates specified in the Professional Pensions Law 2015 (BVG 2015) were employed to calculate the mortality, life expectancy and invalidity rates for all pension plans. The last actuarial valuations were performed on 31 December 2017 and 31 December 2016. The actuarial gains and losses are included in other comprehensive income. Joint committees are set up for pension plans, which are administered via collective foundations.
The foundation board of the autonomous pension foundation is also composed of an equal number of employee and employer representatives. On the basis of the legal provisions and the pension plan regulations, the foundation board is obligated to act solely in the interest of the foundation and the actively insured persons and pensioners. Consequently, in this pension plan the employer itself may not decide on benefits and their financing, rather decisions must be taken on equal terms.
The foundation board is responsible for determining the investment strategy, for amendments to the pension plan regulations, and especially for the financing of the pension plan benefits. The foundation board members of the pension plans specify investment guidelines for the investment of the pension plan assets, which contain the tactical asset allocation and the benchmarks for the comparison of performance with a general investment universe. The assets of the pension plans are well diversified. With regard to diversification and security, the legal provisions of the BPVG Pension Law apply to pension plans in Liechtenstein, and the legal provisions of the BVG Pension Law apply to pension plans in Switzerland. The foundation board members continually monitor whether the selected investment strategy is suitable for the provision of the pension plan benefits and whether the risk budget corresponds to the demographic structure. The observance of the investment guidelines and the investment performance of the investment advisers are reviewed on a quarterly basis. In addition, the investment strategy and its suitability and effectiveness are periodically checked by an external consultant.
The pension plan is designed as a defined contribution plan, i.e. a savings account is maintained for all the retirement benefits of each employee. The annual savings contributions and interest (no negative interest is possible) are credited to the pension savings account annually. At the time of retirement, the insured person may choose between a life-long pension, which includes a reversional spouse pension, or the withdrawal of the savings capital. In addition to the retirement benefits, the pension plan also includes invalidity and partner pensions. These are calculated on the basis of the insured annual salary (defined benefit plan). Furthermore, the insured employee may purchase improvements to his pension plan up to a maximum sum specified in the regulations. If the employee leaves the company, the savings credit balance is transferred to the new employer’s pension plan or to a blocked pension savings account. When determining the benefits, the minimum provisions of the Professional Pension Plans Law (BPVG) and its implementing ordinance are to be observed. The minimum salary to be insured and the minimum pension savings balance sum are stipulated in the BPVG. On account of the pension plan structure and the legal provisions of the BPVG, the employer is subject to actuarial risks. The most important of these are investment risk, interest rate risk and longevity risk. The risks of death and invalidity have been congruently re-insured since. Currently, the individually accumulated pension capital is converted into a life-long pension at age 64 with a pension conversion rate of 5.60 percent. This conversion rate is reduced annually and will amount to 5.10 percent from 1 January 2022. Amendments to the contribution payments made by the bank, the associate companies, or the employees – in accordance with the regulations – require the approval of the bank, the associate companies and a majority of all employees. The employer must bear at least half of the contributions. In the event of underfunding, financial recovery contributions may be charged to both the employer and the employee to eliminate the shortfall in coverage.
One-time effects influencing pension plans and other long-term benefits
The Pension Fund Foundation of LLB AG reduced the conversion rate for the calculation of the life-long pension. In the 2016 financial year this led to a one-time reduction in the benefit expenses for defined benefit plans of CHF 10.2 million.