What role does the pension fund commission play in a collective foundation?

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The pension fund commission of a collective foundation has a key role to play in the management of a company’s occupational benefits. It takes important decisions in the interests of all stakeholders, works closely with the foundation board and oversees the efficient implementation of the pension plans as well as representing the interests of both employers and employees.

With the consent of their employees, employers can join a collective foundation by signing an affiliation agreement. In contrast to company pension funds, where the foundation board makes all decisions, a collective foundation’s board is only responsible for overarching matters. Every affiliated company is required to establish a pension fund commission with equal representation of employees and employers.

What are the main tasks of the pension fund commission?

The primary responsibility of the pension fund commission (PFC) is to reach decisions regarding occupational benefits in the interests of all parties involved. For instance, this includes changes to the pension plan or a change of pension provider. In addition, the employee representatives also act as point of contact for questions relating to pension issues. At GEMINI, the pension fund committee also makes annual interest rate decisions using a coverage ratio calculation based on the return as at October of each year. The calculation provides guidance on the necessary target fluctuation reserve and the resulting maximum interest rate on retirement assets.

Collaboration with the foundation board

There is a clear demarcation between the competences of the PFC and those of the foundation board. While the foundation board has overall responsibility for the collective foundation and is in charge of its strategic direction, the PFC entrusts the foundation board with its tasks and duties in accordance with the organisational regulations.

Essential expertise required by PFC members

PFC members must have a thorough understanding of their rights and duties and must ensure that the organisation operates effectively in the occupational benefits field. They should also have basic occupational pension expertise.

The PFC’s key responsibilities at a glance:

  • Decisions regarding the pension plan and any amendments

  • Decisions regarding the use of disposable assets

  • Providing regular or needs-based information to all members within the company

  • Control of payments and notifications made by the employer to the collective foundation

  • Representing the interests of the employee benefits unit in dealings with the foundation board of the collective foundation

  • Election of the foundation board of the collective foundation

  • Assistance with any termination of affiliation agreements with the collective foundation

Employees and employers elect their representatives to the pension fund commission in accordance with the election regulations. The employee representatives are elected by the company’s staff, while the employer representatives are appointed by the employer. A term of office runs for three years and members can be re-elected. Employee representatives have special protection against dismissal (Swiss Code of Obligations, Art. 336, para. 2 lit. b) and can only be dismissed for good cause.

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Find out more about the GEMINI Collective Foundation, its organisation and the members of its bodies.