Occupational pension plans: taxation and risks for pension coverage of lump sum payments from the pillars 2 and 3a

Key facts

Whereas the period since the introduction of mandatory occupational pension plans in 1985 was dominated by asset accumulation, for demographic reasons, the coming years will increasingly be marked by benefit payment. This increasingly poses the question, in what form should the benefits be provided? Since 1995 legislation has extended the possibilities of capital withdrawal. If one examines all legal capital withdrawal options as a whole (age, death, invalidity, promotion of the ownership of residential property, becoming self-employed, leaving Switzerland for good and holding less than a year’s worth of saved pension capital), annually one third of second pillar benefits are claimed as a lump sum and two thirds as a pension annuity. The overwhelming part of the pillar 3a benefits is claimed as lump sums. The only other country where there is such a high occurrence of pension lump sum payments is in the US.