In the 2017 financial year, Suva’s overall performance reached 7.8 per cent, which is above the average of 3.8 per cent of the last ten years. By far the largest contributor to the positive investment performance was the asset class of shares, especially in emerging markets. However, all other segments also contributed to the positive result, such as fixed-interest capital investments, real estate and alternative investments. The situation proved more difficult for money market investments, whose return was burdened by the negative interest rates.
Suva’s fixed assets increased from CHF 48.0 billion to CHF 51.2 billion in financial year 2017, while the financial coverage ratio rose from 136 per cent to around 143 per cent, meaning Suva remains very soundly financed.
The investment strategy is based on longevity and broad diversification. It has a balanced investment portfolio. About half of the assets are invested in interest-bearing and credit investments, with 32 per cent invested in shares and private equity investments, around 13 per cent in real estate and real estate funds and the remainder in hedge funds, gold and commodities. With this strategy, Suva achieves adequate return on the long-term average. Low-risk, fixed-interest capital investments alone would not meet the return requirements.
To compensate for significant fluctuations in value on capital investments, in good years Suva increases fluctuation reserves. In bad years it releases them again.
the distribution is based on risk premiums. The share ratio also includes private equity and equity-hedged portfolios, for example.
Asset classes have been grouped according to risk premiums as part of the new investment strategy in force since 1 January 2016. This approach allows alternative investments to be compared with traditional investments more easily and used in an even more targeted way.
The «Interest» risk premium includes bonds and loans with high credit ratings.
«Loans» covers all portfolios that entail a credit risk premium, i.e. compensation for assuming default risks. This includes syndicated loans, high-yield bonds and emerging market bonds. The «Private debt» and «Credit-hedged» portfolios previously managed under «Alternative investments» are now also included in this category.
The «Shares» risk premium also includes the «Private equity» and «Equity-hedged» portfolios in addition to the traditional share portfolios.
Three things make this investment strategy possible:
Suva’s investment strategy can best be compared to that of a pension fund. Thanks to its balanced investment portfolio, Suva is able to survive even the most difficult times. Since 1918, a portfolio with a comparable distribution of assets would have achieved an annual yield of 5.7 %. The realised performance since 2000 exceeds similar pension fund indices, e.g. the BVG-25-Index and the CS Pension Fund Index.
The positive performance of CHF 100 invested in accordance with Suva’s investment strategy (blue curve) would have defied all of the financial crises (bars in the negative zone) since 1918.
In 2015, together with the larger Swiss pension funds, compensation funds and insurance companies, Suva founded the Swiss association for responsible investments (SVVK-ASIR) . The association supports its members in the application of ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria. In this way, Suva observes its fiduciary duties as efficiently as possible.
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