Challenges for the Swiss Welfare State 

Thursday, 17. October 2013 | 11:15 Uhr


Jürg Brechbühl


Director of the Federal Social Insurance Office

Jürg Brechbühl, Director of the Federal Office for Social Security, explained the challenges of the proven three-pillar model in Switzerland: “We see storm clouds moving towards us in the area of retirement provisions. Therefore, we need to open up an umbrella in time.” And he indicated: “By the year 2030, there will be approximately 30 billion Francs missing in the old age and survivors’ insurance. There are three possible scenarios to cover this gap: increasing the value-added tax, shifting the retirement age upward, or raising salary contributions. The politicians will be holding heated discussions on how the required additional revenue will be achieved.” He is more concerned about the funding of the second pillar. Interest earnings have already been too low since 2002 to sufficiently cover pensions. Conversely, due to higher life expectancy, pensions have to be paid out for a longer time. In order to maintain the balance in employee pension plans, the conversion rate would have to be reduced; this was rejected by the people at the polls. This past June, the Federal Council launched a comprehensive attempt at reform with its “Retirement Provisions 2020” initiative. The insured and voters will be fully informed on its contents and impact in the near future.
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Jürg Brechbühl

Studied law at the University of Basel. Joined the Pensions Section of the FSIO in 1982 as a legal advisor. From 1987 to 1988 Mr. Brechbühl worked as an assistant to the FSIO directorate before taking up the post of Head of the Pensions Section and Deputy Head of the AHV/EO/EL Section in 1988. He was promoted to Chief of Staff in 1997, and three years later was appointed Deputy Director of the FSIO and Head of the Old-Age and Survivors’ Insurance domain, with responsibility for the first and second pillar insurance schemes. In 2005, Mr. Brechbühl became a private insurance consultant, and served on the management boards and boards of trustees of several pension funds.

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