Forgotten pension funds: why and how to find beneficiaries?
FORGOTTEN PENSION FUNDS : WHY AND HOW TO FIND BENEFICIARIES?
In 2016, more than 10 billion Swiss francs from pension funds was held by the Foundation of the BVG Contingency Fund. However, while the foundation had contact details and AHV numbers for about 360,000 of these accounts (around 7 billion Swiss francs), the institution was unable to find the beneficiaries of 650,000 other accounts, totalling over 3 billion Swiss francs! Nevertheless, these accounts mainly concern 2nd pillar funds, for which procedures and institutions exist. 3rd pillar funds, on the other hand, require more attention and are not covered by specific legislation.
An update on these unclaimed funds, the reasons why pension fund foundations should be concerned about finding the beneficiaries of 3a and 3b benefits and how to proceed.
50% FOREIGN BENEFICIARIES!
Out of the estimated 650,000 accounts for which the Foundation of the BVG Contingency Fund does not have sufficient information, it is believed that the proportion of foreign beneficiaries is 50%, including, in all likelihood, many people from Kosovo, according to Swissinfo. In the vast majority of cases, workers have worked for some time in Switzerland and simply do not know that they have unclaimed funds pertaining to their pension fund contributions.
UNCLAIMED PENSION ASSETS: 2nd PILLAR CENTRAL OFFICE
When unclaimed pension assets concern the 2nd pillar, the search for beneficiaries does not fall within the purview of the pension fund foundation but of the 2nd pillar central office, associated with the Foundation of the BVG Contingency Fund. However, since beneficiaries do not claim their dues and have generally left the territory, it is extremely difficult for organisations to find these unclaimed fund holders. Nevertheless, "the Confederation has signed agreements with some forty European countries, which allows us to work closely with the various state pension institutions. We are regularly contacted by these institutions, when, for example, a former insured person registers with one of them and indicates that he or she has also worked in Switzerland," says the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO).
PRIVATE PENSIONS FUNDS
On the other hand, the problem of these unclaimed assets becomes more acute when they are 3rd pillar pension funds, as there is no legislation requiring the foundation to seek beneficiaries due to lack of contact.
WHY LOOK FOR BENEFICIARIES OF 3rd PILLAR PENSION FUNDS?
Despite the absence of legislation, some institutions have chosen to put in place procedures to deal with this unclaimed capital, which is to their credit for several reasons:
On the one hand, it seems appropriate to anticipate a possible tightening of legislation on unclaimed assets, as was the case for several European countries (Belgium, France, Luxembourg).
On the other hand, such a proactive approach brings an undeniable benefit in terms of image for the institution that adopts it, fits into a more global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy and demonstrates to clients a strong desire to work in their interest.
HOW CAN WE FIND THE BENEFICIARIES OF UNCLAIMED PENSION FUNDS?
This notwithstanding, it may be particularly difficult for pension fund foundations, insurance companies or banks to find these unclaimed fund holders. Lack of dedicated teams, lack of experience in this type of investigation, risks of breach of professional secrecy: since most beneficiaries of 3a benefits are domiciled abroad or have died, the research work can be particularly difficult and require a certain degree of expertise. It is precisely in this context that Key Findings can assist you. Specialised in searching for beneficiaries of funds that have remained unclaimed for several years and with a vast network of investigators around the world, we are able to investigate effectively to enable you to pay the benefits due. In addition, our services are subject to hourly, transparent (time sheet) and controlled pricing. Contact us so that together we can find a solution adapted to your needs.