Groupe Mutuel Pension

Editorial

Unprecedented challenges
In 2020, it was not exactly business as usual. From the beginning of the year, the pandemic affected the whole world and slowed down the economy considerably. Human beings’ extraordinary capacity to adapt, coupled with a strong sense of resilience, allowed us to face up to the challenges and to continue to move forward.

Groupe Mutuel Prévoyance-GMP could not avoid a major upheaval in the organisation of its activities. In just a few days, employees were transferred to working from home and, thanks to the significant involvement of each and everyone and the deployment of technological resources, customer services were never discontinued.

“Please take care of yourself, your family members and your employees.”

These were the words sent to our partners in March 2020. They reflect the purpose of occupational benefits (2nd pillar), which is to provide for the employees of each affiliated company, as well as for their family members. They also reflect the consideration we have for you. We would like to thank you for your trust and intend to remain at your side, now and in the future.

Administration of the pension fund

In these difficult times, our goal was to support you and to make your life easier. The challenges were extraordinary and some of them are still considerable today. Here is a brief overview.

Staying in touch with our customers in all situations
More than ever, our employees demonstrated commitment and flexibility in order to respond to customers as quickly as possible, including when staff was transferred to working from home to comply with health restrictions.

Our insured persons are at the heart of our activities
Handling requests and paying benefits remained a priority for us. We were available for our insured persons and benefits were paid on time, despite the unusual context of 2020. We know how important this can be in times of crisis.

Payment facilities
To support businesses facing temporary cash flow difficulties, we established regular contacts and agreed on payment facilities to spread out the contributions.

Provide insurance for modern lifestyles
Our pension fund regulations have long taken into consideration modern lifestyles, such as by providing death coverage for persons living in a common-law partnership. The entitlement to common-law benefits was extended, in order to improve the coverage offered.

The challenge of longer life expectancy
When active insured persons become old-age pensioners, this requires significant support from the active population for the benefits guaranteed at the time of retirement. Today, the rate to convert retirement capital into a pension is 6.8%. This is far too high to ensure long-term sustainability of the second pillar.

It is urgent to amend the LPP/BVG and, while it is still being discussed in parliament, we have a duty to take action.

This is why we have decided to progressively adjust the conversion rates from 2022 onwards, while waiting for the minimum LPP/BVG rate to be changed.

This will provide an equitable solution for active insured employees and newly retired persons, with a transfer limit of 0.3% of assets per year.

Capital investment activities

Review of the past year
2020 started out as a continuation of 2019, with markets hitting an all-time high in February. Then, spectacularly, COVID-19 got out of China and the global economy was hit by a recession that had not been seen since World War II. Markets in both Europe and the United States plunged before recovering and then fluctuating according to the health situation, lockdown periods and the outlook for vaccines. In Europe and the United States alike, major recovery packages were put in place to contain the economic impact of COVID-19. In this difficult context, Switzerland is coping less badly than other countries, since growth for 2020 as a whole should show a negative trend of -3.3%.

Results
The management of different types of assets in 2020 allowed Groupe Mutuel Prévoyance-GMP to register a return on equity of 2.3% free of costs, while containing portfolio volatility. By way of comparison, the benchmark index was 3.2%. This underperformance is mainly due to the shorter maturity of the bond portfolio, the cost of equity protection at the end of the year and the under-exposure to direct real estate.

Outlook
The arrival of several vaccines should speed up the reopening of the economy and generate a recovery of consumption. Central banks will maintain accommodative policies and States have agreed on massive support plans. However, this potential end to the crisis is confronted to an obvious fact: stock markets in 2020 increased mainly because of debt. Government deficits used to support businesses and households are substantial. Moreover, the potential decline in tax revenues could hamper the ability of governments to respond to future economic downturns. As for putting a stop to these extraordinary monetary and fiscal policies, this is not an option in the short term: real-time economy is at a standstill, small business bankruptcies are increasing and social inequalities are growing. The pandemic will leave deep scars for many years.

Sustainable and responsible investments
Groupe Mutuel Prévoyance-GMP has been taking into account for many years now the requirements of sustainable development and acts in a socially and ethically responsible manner. This is reflected in a commitment to these topics and their implementation in investment practices.

In 2020, our values and beliefs in responsible investment were set out in an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Charter. Through this charter, GMP is committed to investing its clients' assets in a safe manner, with a view to achieving competitive and stable returns over the long term through a responsible investment philosophy. A transition to a low-carbon and environmentally friendly economy is supported.

The investment portfolio of the pension fund was reviewed by Conser AG in 2020 and was found to be in line with the high expectations of the ESG Charter. This goes to show that GMP’s strategy for selecting investments has long been carried out in a way that is respectful of our planet's resources, within an approach that puts human beings and business ethics first.

Key figures

2020

0

Balance sheet total 2020 (in CHF thousand)

0

Number of employers affiliated to GMP as at 31.12.2020

0

Number of persons who contributed during the 2020 financial year

0,3%

Investment performance in 2020

0,7%

Coverage ratio for GMP in 2020

0%

Remuneration interest for 2020 (2% more than the statutory minimum rate)

Groupe Mutuel Rapport 2020

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