AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits About the foundation

Switzerland’s largest semi-autonomous collective foundation offers insureds multiple advantages: higher returns with high security. Plus a very good cost-benefit ratio.

AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits

With over 191,000 insureds at more than 39,000 insured companies, the AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits is the largest semi-autonomous collective foundation in Switzerland. It provides secure occupational benefits (retirement, survivors’ and disability benefits) for affiliated companies and manages assets totaling over CHF 29 billion. The Professional Invest solution from the AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits provides benefits for insureds that go well beyond the minimum legal requirements in some cases.

Investment strategy and implementation

  • The Board of Trustees defines the investment strategy; the collective foundation with its affiliated pension funds bears the investment risk.
  • The assets are managed by AXA's Asset Management team.

Protection of pension benefits

  • Benefits due if an insured person becomes disabled or dies before they reach the reference age (formerly: normal retirement age) are reinsured with AXA Life Ltd.
  • The Foundation pays the retirement benefits and the associated survivors pensions in the event of the insured person’s death after they have reached the reference age (formerly: normal retirement age).

Attractive interest rates

  • The interest model determined by the Board of Trustees increases transparency and the ability to plan for affiliated customers.
  • The interest paid on retirement assets is based on the expected coverage ratio at the end of the year.

Administration and management

  • Management and AXA Life Ltd. 

History 

The AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits has a long and successful history. The foundation was established on June 8, 1984 as the “Winterthur” Foundation for mandatory occupational benefits to offer companies a solution for obligatory occupational pension insurance. Until the end of 2018, it was run as a full-value insurance foundation. It became a semi-autonomous foundation on January 1, 2019. Since then, the AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits has borne the responsibility for investing its assets and has provided retirement and surviving dependents’ benefits independently. This solution offers the potential for better investment returns, higher interest on the retirement assets, and therefore higher benefits in old age and higher vested benefits – with a high level of security, as before. Employers  and their employees benefit from a far better cost-benefit ratio because they pay lower risk contributions for their pension solution.

Strategy and vision

For the AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits, financial stability is essential to guaranteeing added value for its insured members. It aims to achieve attractive rates of interest for pension assets and a price/performance ratio in line with the market. Stability of the assets and offering insureds an attractive return are particularly important to us. 

The Board of Trustees has defined five strategic areas of focus: 

  • Attractive and sustainable interest on retirement assets
  • Strict risk control and monitoring of investments 
  • Increased governance of the foundation
  • Improved transparency for all the insured
  • Low administrative costs thanks to efficient management

Interested in finding out more about the AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits? All the documents and key figures on the Foundation and the Professional Invest are available here.

Organization of the foundation

The Board of Trustees is the supreme governing body and carries responsibility in the AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits. It determines and monitors the strategy, is responsible for managing the investments, and also ensures the foundation's sustainable approach and independence. The prime focus is its obligations to beneficiaries. 

The Board of Trustees has entrusted AXA Life Ltd. with the management of the foundation. AXA Life Ltd. is responsible for the operational management and implementation of the investment strategy and guarantees direct and transparent communication with beneficiaries and companies.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees comprises eight members. It has an equal number of employee and employer representatives. Elections to the Board of Trustees are held every four years.  

For the present term of office from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2024 the eight members  of the Board of Trustees are:

  • Gabriela Grob Hügli (Chair)

    Gabriela Grob Hügli (Chair)

    Employee representative

    Procap, Olten
    Attorney

    “We are committed to high financial stability, transparency and further professionalization of structures.”

    Curriculum vitae
  • Christoph Burkhalter

    Christoph Burkhalter

    Employee representative

    Avaloq Evolution AG, Zurich
    Global Product Owner of Cloud Deployment Automation

    “The aim is to protect the assets with forward-looking strategies, monitoring mechanisms and continuity.”

    Curriculum vitae
  • Hanspeter Herger

    Hanspeter Herger

    Employee representative

    x-plus services gmbh, Engelberg
    Marketing / Sponsoring

    “Occupational benefits provision is facing major demographic, regulatory, and financial challenges. Solid occupational benefits are essential.”

    Curriculum vitae
  • Bodo Möller

    Bodo Möller

    Employee representative

    Google Switzerland GmbH, Zurich
    Software Engineer

    "Semi-autonomy has opened up new opportunities for the Foundation and its insured."

    Curriculum vitae
  • Christoph Senti

    Christoph Senti (Vice Chair)

    Employer representative

    Christoph Senti AG, Altstätten
    Partner

    “Together, we guarantee solid and prudent long-term management of the Foundation for Occupational Benefits.”

    Curriculum vitae
  • Urs Flück

    Urs Flück

    Employer representative

    Mathys AG Bettlach, Bettlach
    CFO

    “A pension fund that is financially stable and healthy over the long term is important to me.”

    Curriculum vitae
  • Elisabeth Meyerhans Sarasin

    Elisabeth Meyerhans Sarasin

    Employer representative

    Meyerhans & Partner GmbH, Zurich
    Managing Director

    “Employees should be able to rely on a good pension solution.”

    Curriculum vitae
  • Massimo Tognola

    Massimo Tognola

    Employer representative

    Fidam Servizi SA, Chiasso
    Owner

    “We want to provide a flexible, fair and profitable occupational benefits solution.”

    Curriculum vitae

Committees and governance

Investment Committee 

The Investment Committee is responsible for realizing the long-term investment strategy set by the Board of Trustees. It monitors liquidity and the investment plan and drafts the investment rules. 

Liability Committee 

The Liability Committee monitors the Foundation's financial situation and development to ensure that its obligations in respect of its insured members are met at all times.

Governance Committee

The Governance Committee oversees the statutory, regulatory and contractual conditions, for example, the expediency of the organization and the management.  

Management

The management is responsible for the operational management of the foundation, advises the Board of Trustees on strategic issues, and bears the responsibility for implementing the decisions of the Board of Trustees. It comprises two members appointed by the Board of Trustees. 

  • Sandra Gisin

    Sandra Gisin

    Managing Director of the AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits

    Sandra Gisin has been Managing Director of the AXA Foundation of Occupational Benefits since September 2020. She was previously head of the operational management and customer relationship management department at AXA Life Ltd. As Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the AHV/IV/EO compensation fund in Geneva and former Managing Director of the Foundation for Flexible Retirement (FAR), Sandra Gisin has many years’ experience in various areas of pension provision.

  • Esther Jacomet

    Esther Jacomet

    Deputy Managing Director of the AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits

    Esther Jacomet has been Deputy Managing Director of the AXA Foundation for Occupational Benefits since September 2020. She has worked for AXA in various functions since 1985, most recently as Head of Foundation Management and Managing Director of the collective foundations. Esther Jacomet has expertise in the management of foundations with a focus on pension benefits and extensive knowledge of the sector.

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