Free our pension fund data!

6 March 2019

Do you know how much more or less money you will have at your disposal after retirement? It's not easy to calculate: you need AHV and pension fund data, you need to take tax effects into account, and it takes time because it takes two to four weeks for a statement of your individual AHV account to be delivered.

The Swiss population has a need for security and transparency when it comes to pension provision. It is important for everyone to know whether they will still have enough income to keep their home after retirement, or whether they should take measures before they retire to have more pension later. Today it is unnecessarily difficult to get transparency.

There is an app for almost everything today - but not for it. The reason is not that the Swiss pension system with the three pillars AHV, pension fund and private third pillar is too complex, but that the relevant data is locked up in organisations that have in many cases not yet arrived in the digital age.

What would the world look like if the pension data were accessible via Open APIs (open, standardised programming interfaces)? Apps or websites would quickly emerge that would enable anyone to quickly and easily find out what the pension situation is like and to run through scenarios, such as what the financial impact would be if the couple could retire early together.

Financial advisors would also use Open APIs to collect the data needed for comprehensive advice without the client having to go through his filing and order documentation from different organisations.

Four elements are needed to realize the vision:

  • Standardized Open APIs for all pension funds to access individual pension data
  • An Open API to query the AHV contributions
  • Electronic identification to give an app or consultant access to their own pension data. Of course, the individual should decide for himself who has access to his data.
  • Entrepreneurship, so that the apps and the consulting services are created

There is no lack of entrepreneurial spirit in this area in Switzerland. The E-ID, which is currently being promoted (see electronic identity), can be used as an electronic means of identification, especially when accessing AHV data. Thus, above all, the Open APIs are missing.

Open APIs already exist in other sectors. In the EU, for example, it is mandatory for banks to provide APIs for access to account data and payment transactions. In Switzerland there is no obligation, but many banks nevertheless provide corporate customers with an interface, and SIX is about to make up for the EU's lead with its own initiative (Swiss Corporate API).

A new era will dawn with Open APIs for the pension system: Swiss citizens will finally gain transparency about their pension plans, control them more actively and have security about their situation in old age. The time has come for the Confederation and pension funds to finally make use of the possibilities offered by digitisation for greater transparency.