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Old 23.01.2014, 15:52
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Picking a 3a Fund; Researching and Tracking Performance

Hello fellow members,

After checking a few historical threads like this one here, I would like to compare notes on the 3a funds.

At present, the inherently lazy me has left it to the default "pure savings" to guide my retirement funds. As of this year, I'd like to take an active approach and put them to work, although this may sound a little more ambitious or grand than my current knowledge or abilities.

In full awareness of my limited understanding, I am looking at the 3a funds, the likes of VitaInvest from UBS and MixtaBVG from Credit Suisse. These offer a range of flavors, from minimum equities and risk to full commando double-or-nothing varieties. After discussing with my banker, my "risk appetite" has been qualified at a maximum of 25% equities, so I'm a cautiously optimistic conservative newbie.

Now, to take it to the next level, I need your tips and advice on the following:

1) How do you track historical performance of those indices? Yahoo Finance? Google Finance? Bloomberg? Other? Any way of comparing multiple next to each other across 3 years or more?

2) The UBS VitaInvest 25 exhibit odd cyclic behavior, dipping around June-ish each year: anyone know a particular reason why this may be? Have you discovered a good time to buy into 3a funds, or a rule of thumb that may serve to time the investment wisely?

3) How do you pick your funds? Do you split into multiple funds, like half in 12% equity fund and half in 65% equity fund, or do you go lump sum/year's worth of 3a into one fund and then next year into another?

4) Managed Fund vs Index Fund - there are those which have fund managers' names announced and this is supposed to give some weight/solidity I guess but means nothing to me? Any particular benefit compared to those "unnamed" or index funds?

I'm sure those ahead into this investment have things to share I have not asked, so please feel free to add what I may be overlooking. Hope this thread grows to serve inquisitive inherently lazy misers to better place their savings.

Thanks to all who contribute
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Old 23.01.2014, 16:23
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Re: Picking a 3a Fund; Researching and Tracking Performance

This might end up being merged with the thread you reference.

Personally, I invested my 3rd Pillar last year in the CS Mixta45 account which is the highest proportion of equities i could find. Most of these 3a options are very cautious and (relatively) low risk.

I guess there must be choices with more equity exposure but I couldn't easily find something I could trust -- and at least Credit Suisse are my bank, which helps the admin.

More generally (as I think was the point on that other thread) if you want to start investing in equities/funds etc then think beyond the 3a as it is so restricted. I've used my 3a allowance as it becomes tax-deductible and it's just another bit of diversification but the amount involved, 6.5K CHF, isn't going to add a lot to my wealth.

If you have spare cash over and above that 6.5K CHF, look at using a platform like SwissQuote etc where you have thousands of choices. To help you decide what to invest in you can look at the many platforms / research sites like Trustnet, Morning Star, Digital Look etc. You can use these same resources for checking the progress of most funds (though not all will have Swiss 3a funds).

No one can really advise you on investment without loads more info -- which I am not requesting! -- about time horizon, appetite for risk, size of your funds etc.

The dip in June *may* be linked to holdings going ex-dividend i.e. if bought after that date no dividend will be paid so the buy price may drop to compensate.

Managed v index trackers? Pros and cons. If you read something like Tim Hale's "Smarter Investing" you will be persuaded that managed funds are not usually a good idea for long term investment. A recommended read.
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Old 23.01.2014, 16:55
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Re: Picking a 3a Fund; Researching and Tracking Performance

Do you know if it is possible to trade your own 3a account? I really don't want 50+% in bonds right now, but the alternative seems to be a straight cash 3a account which isn't terribly attractive either.
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Old 23.01.2014, 17:23
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Re: Picking a 3a Fund; Researching and Tracking Performance

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I guess there must be choices with more equity exposure but I couldn't
If you have spare cash over and above that 6.5K CHF, look at using a platform like SwissQuote etc where you have thousands of choices.
Is SwissQuote good for investing in funds? I have been hesitating about Interactive Broker...as one needs to fork 10'000 USD at once....

Is there actually a platform that provides a simple way to invest in funds? Simple for me means no much charge for transactions / holding and easy to open an account....

Last edited by 3Wishes; 23.01.2014 at 17:26. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 23.01.2014, 20:58
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Re: Picking a 3a Fund; Researching and Tracking Performance

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Is SwissQuote good for investing in funds? I have been hesitating about Interactive Broker...as one needs to fork 10'000 USD at once....

Is there actually a platform that provides a simple way to invest in funds? Simple for me means no much charge for transactions / holding and easy to open an account....
SwissQuote (SQ) seems to offer a lot of funds, yes, but I don't know how they compare with IB on charges. I've used them only for buying equities. I did look at using my bank but their charges seemed too high. ETFs or simple trackers tend to be cheap as there is little buying and selling by the fund manager. Actively managed funds will always be relatively expensive. You have to pay for the supposed expertise as well as the costs of dealing. (Read the Tim Hale book before jumping into managed funds -- it's eye-opening. Most managed funds don't even beat trackers once you include charges.)

SwissQuote seem OK to me. I wouldn't wax lyrical about them but buying and selling seem straightforward and quick. For Switzerland their charges are OK, though I was annoyed to see it would cost me 100 CHF to get a tax statement each year.

You'll have to expect a certain amount of complexity when opening an account with any broker. It's just like opening a bank account -- the authorities need to know all about you for tax and money laundering implications. No way round that. But once you've opened it, it becomes much simpler.

Last edited by Pachyderm; 23.01.2014 at 21:34.
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Old 23.01.2014, 21:27
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Re: Picking a 3a Fund; Researching and Tracking Performance

CS and UBS are great at printing slick brochures.

That's about it.

Once they got your money, they forget about you (unless you've got multiples of 7 figures to invest... they have special lifts to the top floor for those clients).
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Old 24.01.2014, 09:36
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Re: Picking a 3a Fund; Researching and Tracking Performance

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CS and UBS are great at printing slick brochures.

That's about it.

Once they got your money, they forget about you (unless you've got multiples of 7 figures to invest... they have special lifts to the top floor for those clients).
I do believe that investing is still better than just keeping them as pure savings earning 1.25% at best. Be as it may with the private lifts and rumors of opulent living on interests alone, I still think money aside, it boils down to being active and not letting your cash degrade eaten away by fees but keeping or increasing its value. Baby steps at first, of course.
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