The majority of the Swiss population favors the sustainable investment of their pension assets, as revealed by a representative survey carried out by AXA Switzerland. Pressure on pension funds and pension providers to actually satisfy this need is likely to increase even further.
A representative survey of more than 1,000 people conducted by AXA shows that two-thirds of Swiss would like to see their pension assets invested sustainably. Interest is particularly high among 18-25-year-olds, the youngest age group, with tomorrow's savers registering an approval rating of around 73%.
In Pillar 3, pension savers decide for themselves how and where to invest their money. As the survey shows, the importance of sustainability when choosing a Pillar 3a solution has increased significantly in the last two years.
In 2019, 18% of respondents said they invested primarily or exclusively in sustainable 3a solutions, compared with 22% in 2021. The number of people who at least try to invest sustainably whenever returns are favorable has risen rather more sharply: the proportion has almost doubled from 26% in 2019 to 49% in 2021. At the same time, the share of respondents for whom sustainability plays no role in Pillar 3 choice has decreased greatly from 46% in 2019 to 18% in 2021.
Daniel Gussmann, Chief Investment Officer of AXA Switzerland: “A majority of respondents would especially like to avoid investments with a highly negative impact. They are even prepared to forgo part of the return to achieve this. As soon as a certain degree of sustainability is reached, the return moves back to center stage again. The good news is that sustainability doesn’t have to mean losing out on returns. It’s possible to have both.”
Unlike in Pillar 3, most people insured in Pillar 2 have no active say in how their pension assets are invested, as their pension fund depends mainly on their employer. However, around two-thirds of respondents find it important or very important that their pension fund savings are invested sustainably.
Respondents take a particularly critical view of investments in sectors or companies that are associated with child labor and controversial weapons. More than 80% clearly reject investments of this kind, followed by investments in companies or countries with human rights abuses and sectors such as pornography, coal mining and palm oil. In response to the question of which sustainable investment topics are particularly meaningful to them, climate protection and maintaining biodiversity come out on top.
Daniel Gussmann: “The survey results confirm that there is huge interest in sustainable investment opportunities. And we can also see the growing importance of sustainability topics in our daily encounters with clients. It’s up to financial service providers and pension funds to satisfy this growing need through their investment strategies.”
About the survey
The market research institute Intervista was commissioned by AXA Switzerland to conduct the representative online survey between February 10 and 17, 2021, interviewing 1,031 people aged between 18 and 65 in German-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland.