Positive market developments and rising discount rates helped Swiss Pensionskassen improve their funding levels by approximately 300 basis points, consultancies estimated.PKSBB, the CHF15bn (€12bn) pension fund of Swiss federal railways SBB, fared particularly well, reporting a funding level just above the 100%-mark for the first time in more than a decade.Its 101.8% funding level marked an increase of 270bps year on year and means that, for 2014, its participants will not have to pay any additional contributions as part of a recovery plan.Meanwhile, average funding levels at Swiss pension funds improved to 102.9% for pension funds in general, according to Towers Watson, or even to as high as 110.8% for private pension funds, according to Swisscanto. The Towers Watson Pension Index calculated that the funding level increased by 400bps quarter on quarter from 99.1% as reported per end-September 2013, while Swisscanto worked out an improvement of 320bps for private pension funds and 270bps for public pension funds to 102.7% year on year.A slight increase in the discount rate also helped lower liabilities and improve funding levels in turn.Within the Towers Watson sample, the discount rate improved by 16bps, while liabilities shrank by 2%.Swisscanto reported a 6.1% average rate of return for its sample, similar to the one published by Towers Watson at 6.2%.UBS calculated a similar average return at 5.89%, but the Credit Suisse index showed a slightly lower average return at 5.75%.The PKSBB is at the lower end of the spectrum, with a return of 5.4% for 2013.In a statement, the pension fund stressed that, despite the recent improvement of its funding levels, its financial buffers were still wanting.The PKSBB is one of the funds currently looking to introduce variable pensions for future pensioners to ensure sustainable, long-term financing.
Wenger was asked why he did not take Sanchez off in Tuesday night’s 3-0 victory over Dinamo Zagreb in which he scored two goals to keep the Gunners’ Champions League hopes alive. Having somewhat cryptically replied that Sanchez gets tired if rested, Wenger admitted ahead of Sunday’s trip to Norwich that the 26-year-old is constantly surprising him with his eagerness to commit to the cause. “When he does something he does it 100 per cent,” said Wenger. “So he finishes and you think, ‘He’s dead now.’ But then he recovers and gives 100 per cent again, so you always see signs of exhaustion, but it’s not because two days later he’s fine.” Wenger went on to compare his £30million man to a hunting lion, likening his work-rate to that of Leicester’s in-form Jamie Vardy. “His style is very explosive and a very committed style,” he said. “Vardy is a bit similar. They go when they go. They are like the lion, he has to catch the animal in the first 200 metres. If he doesn’t get there, after he’s dead. They are these kind of killers. When they go, it is to kill and after they have to stop.” Sanchez is likely to stay in the side for the game at Carrow Road, despite giving Wenger a scare with a hamstring issue after the Dinamo game. The Chile international has been a key man in Wenger’s squad since he was signed from Barcelona in 2014 and has nine goals to his name already this season. Sanchez has been a major player for club and country of late and, having starred in his national side’s Copa America success over the summer, has now been playing regularly for a number of months. Arsene Wenger has praised the staying power of Alexis Sanchez and likened the Arsenal forward to a hungry lion. “I will have to assess that a bit later,” he said when asked about resting the player against Norwich. “It might not be the best moment to rest Alexis, but I don’t know. He had a little hamstring alarm, but we will see how he recovers from that. “I take information, especially from medical people who know him and treat him everyday, and after that we will look at his overall recovery as well.” For a man clocking up so many minutes for club and country, on top of the air miles racked up to compete in Chile’s World Cup qualifiers, Sanchez is rarely injured – something Wenger puts down to the player’s own mind. He added: “No, he’s not been injured. We come back to that problem and the more you are injured, the more there is a chance to be injured again. “That’s where we come back to top-level sportsmen. That kind of mixture of flexibility, sense of how far can you go with the pushing, that sensitivity to how much and as well when you have to ease off on your bodyweight. That’s linked with co-ordination and they get less injured. “His resistance is remarkable. What is also remarkable is that he goes to South America, he comes back Thursday night and on Saturday he can play without a problem, even if he’s jet-lagged. He would have been a perfect tennis player. “These are not players who have the traditional academic education that we give now to the players at 15 or 16. They have a physio every day. They are more street players, not pampered.” Press Association