Pillar 3

Personal Risk Check & Guide to Investment


    Swiss Prime International is a privately owned Swiss domiciled Insurance and Financial Consultancy Company. Headquartered in Zug, we provide services to the whole of Switzerland. We have a reputation for delivering on our promises and co-creating solutions with our individual and corporate clients. We are totally independent, and we grow by referral. Our clients include high-potential international careerists and C-Suite Swiss business leaders.

    Our team of Senior Financial Advisors are among the most experienced experts in Switzerland. We cut through complexity to optimise the full range of financial, retirement, and legacy management opportunities available in the Swiss environment.

    Swiss Prime International is registered with FINMA F01112848 and CICERO (#18978), and this qualifies us to contract with all major Swiss Insurance Companies. All our client data is stored with BAYO.

    This recommendation has been prepared based on the information that you have provided. If you believe that we have misinterpreted or overlooked any relevant information, it is your responsibility to bring this to our attention before proceeding with this proposal.

    About AXA

    Around two million customers trust AXA’s expertise in personal, property, liability, life, healthcare, and occupational benefits insurance. With innovative products and services in areas such as mobility, healthcare, pensions, and business, together with simple digital processes, AXA is a supportive partner for its customers. Around 4,500 employees and 3,000 sales personnel personally dedicate themselves to this vision. With more than 340 branch offices, AXA is Switzerland’s largest distribution network in the insurance industry. AXA Switzerland is part of the AXA Group and generated a business volume of CHF 5.6 billion in 2023.

    Background to the Swiss Pension System

    The Swiss pension system is based on three pillars. The 1st Pillar is the basic state pension. The 2nd pillar is the occupational pension that is funded by your employer and yourself. The 3rd Pillar provides an environment for you to take personal accountability for investing in your own pension provision.


    Switzerland encourages the use of the 3rd Pillar through significant tax incentives. The aim is to habituate earners to living on less than their full salary through disciplined saving. This approach is designed to lessen the effect of any disposable income decrease upon retirement and to protect earners and their families from the impacts of old age, disability, or untimely death. The government has designed the 3rd Pillar to socially engineer a sustainable pension provision for your long-term future. This provides you with an opportunity to receive valuable tax relief on your contribution plus savings and if wished life insurance (and/or disability insurance) to protect your loved ones. The effectiveness of the 3rd Pillar’s agency is evident in the high standard of retirement living for those investing early in the 3rd pillar due to the advantage of building a personal retirement plan throughout the course of their professional career. The 3rd Pillar provision is divided into two parts. Pillar 3a provides a bound pension provision, and Pillar 3b provides a unbound pension provision.

    Pillar 3a: Employed persons who are members of a pension fund may pay a maximum of CHF 7,056 annually into Pillar 3a and can deduct the payment from their taxable income. Self-employed persons may pay a maximum of 20% of their net earned income into Pillar 3a, subject to a ceiling of CHF 35,280. Pillar 3a is an earmarked pension plan, and withdrawals are possible five years before the reference age (AHV age) at the earliest and five years after reaching it at the latest (if you are still working after the reference age). However, earlier withdrawal is also possible for the following exceptions: taking up self-employment, leaving Switzerland permanently, buying residential property for your own use, making repayments on an existing mortgage, drawing a disability pension, and buying into a pension fund.

    Pillar 3b: For annual premium policies there is no maximum allowance. Gains made from annual pillar 3b investments are income tax free. For lump sum pillar 3b investment there are tax privileges from age 50 onwards.

    Below are examples of the most common pillar 3a/3b investment possibilities via bank or insurance company in Switzerland:

    Bank account solution:
    Definition: Tax-privileged savings account for retirement provision. Only possible for pillar 3a.
    Characteristics: conservative investment. Non-binding and changing annual interest rates. Provides a conservative and moderate return.
    Tax advantages: Payments are tax-deductible up to a fixed amount, which is currently CHF 7’056.

    Bank or insurance fund investment solution:
    Definition: An investment fund for pillar 3a/3b with broader diversification.
    Characteristics: Investment in various asset classes, higher return potential, and higher risk depending on the fund selection.
    Tax advantages: Payments up to a certain amount are tax-privileged, which is currently CHF 7’056.

    Insurance hybrid solution:
    Definition: Flexibility due to your own investment choice. Possible for pillar 3a/3b.
    Characteristics: A premium split can be defined between fund and account. You decide your return potential upon risk exposure.
    Tax advantages: Tax advantages: Payments up to a certain amount are tax-privileged, which is currently CHF 7’056.


    Privately saving more for your pension is crucial, especially considering the pension gaps associated with Pillar 1 and 2 or foreign pensions. Establishing a 3rd pillar is a good financial instrument to effectively address these gaps.

    Optimising your taxable income is beneficial and can be done via Pillar 3a. Additionally a pillar 3b can be done to close even bigger pension gaps plus any gains are 100% income tax-free. Both are separate pillar 3 pots. Additional insurance, such as a waiver of premium insurance in the case of disability or life insurance, can be added to make sure that your loved ones and you are protected in the case of unforeseen financial difficulties.

    It is important to be flexible and consider a pillar switch. You can switch from either 3a to 3b or from 3b to 3a. This can ensure that your long-term pension is secured. This is especially important when leaving Switzerland, as you can continue to have a private long-term pension plan via Pillar 3.

    AXA SmartFlex Pension Plan (Pillar 3a/3b)

    With the SmartFlex Pension Plan (Pillar 3a/3b) you can adapt your pension plan flexibly for the present and future circumstances of your life. You can choose a premium split yourself (x% in fund and y% in account). Additionally, you can choose between their four fund strategies. For example, a maximum of 90% can go into the fund and a minimum of 10% can go into the account or a maximum of 80% can go into the account and 20% can go into the fund. The account pays a bonus interest of 1.5 % for 2024 but the interest is re-adjusted every calendar year and is not fixed. The fund gains can either be re-invested into the invested fund or the gains can be put into the safety account. The fact that you can hedge this investment makes it a unique investment. Also, an insurance coverage can be added against disability or death.

    In order to advise you properly, we need to know more about your risk tolerance, investment goals and investment time horizon. Please take the necessary time to answer the questionnaire. Please tick the statements that are true or correspond best.

    Questions 1 to 7 serve to take stock of the key aspects of your personal investment environment and planned investment horizon.

    Please state your age:

    Which of the following statements best describes your present expenditures situation (rent, your children’s education and training, mortgage, holiday plans, etc.)?
    If you were to lose your regular income overnight, how long would you be able to finance your customary living standard? In answering, assume that you do not want to sell any long-term assets (real estate, securities, etc.).
    In the next 5 years, do you expect your income to:
    How much are your net total assets currently worth (real estate excluded)?
    How much experience do you have with different forms of investments?
    How long is your investment horizon with regard to the planned strategy?
    Questions 8 and 9 serve to establish your capacity for risk within your investment horizon.
    As the following examples show, the higher the expected returns, the higher the risk; this therefore presupposes a higher capacity for risk. These examples are hypothetical and disregard the current market situation. Which of the following statements applies best?
    Let us assume that you have opted for an investment involving a certain risk. After initial gains, your investment starts making a loss. How would you react assuming that your personal investment environment and time horizon under questions 1 to 7 have not significantly changed?

    Thank you, based on your selected options, your risk assessment score has been provided below. Please continue to review your risk check evaluation to see which risk level your score matches.

    Your Total

    Risk Check Evaluation

    From 0 to 20 points or elimination based on question 8 (Risk Level 1)

    Your risk profile only allows for a deposit investment or 100% capital guaranteed investments

    From 21 to 33 points (Risk Level 2)

    Conservative Risk Profile: A conservative investor is one who is prepared to accept a small amount of risk, but the priority remains the preservation of capital over the medium to long term. He/She may have some understanding of investments markets; however, he/she cannot afford to take any chances with his/her capital.

    From 34 to 46 points (Risk Level 3)

    Balanced Risk Profile: A balanced investor has some understanding of investment behaviour and can accept moderate short-term risk to his/her capital. He/She does not wish to see his/her capital eroded by tax and inflation and is prepared to take moderate short-term risk with equities in order to gain longer term capital growth.

    From 47 to 60 points (Risk Level 4)

    Dynamic Risk Profile: A dynamic investor understands the movement of investment markets. He/She is most interested in maximizing long term capital growth, although he/she does not wish to make unbalanced investment decisions. He/She is happy to sacrifice short term safety in order to maximize long term capital growth from international markets.

    I hereby confirm that I have not been guaranteed any returns and that I have been made aware of the fact that positive past performance does not guarantee positive future performance. I am also aware that securities investments can produce losses (e.g., on prices, interest rates, foreign currencies, or counterparties) and that I alone bear that risk.

    By signing the form below, you agree that you were explicitly informed about the following key points during the consultation for life and pension insurance and unit-linked life insurance.

    I confirm that I have seen the new VAG 45 article (www.swiss-prime.ch/en/ISA-Art45) and Swiss Prime International Terms and Conditions (https://swiss-prime.ch/en/terms-and-conditions/). You confirm that:

    • You are aware of which Pillar 3 provider and solution you have chosen.
    • You were shown the benefits and why this solution was recommended.
    • You are aware that bonus distribution is not guaranteed.
    • You are aware of the surrender value in the event of premature termination (the table of surrender val-ues is shown in the contract)
    • You are aware of the clarification of the risk (fund performance, current risk, profit, and loss possibili-ties)
    • The risk appetite/risk capacity and investment horizon were discussed.