Towers Watson, as part an annual report on the Swiss pension fund association’s members, had calculated a 10% median return for 2014.Discount rates dropped, along with corporate bonds, yielding 100-125bps less in Q4.Bond yields were further strained by the Swiss National Bank’s announcement that it would introduce a negative base rate.Adam Casey, senior consultant at Towers Watson in Zurich, said: “This directly affected the yields of Swiss bonds.”At Publica, Switzerland’s largest public pension fund, director Dieter Stohler pointed to another effect resulting from the SNB’s policy.“On the international currency markets, the forward discounts for Swiss francs have widened slightly, increasing costs for FX-hedging,” he said. He told IPE he did not think Swiss institutions would start introducing negative rates on savings any time soon, adding that the SNB would have to continue to make the Swiss franc “less attractive” as long as it wanted to continue to uphold the minimum exchange rate of 1.20CHF per euro. A decrease in Swiss discount rates last year caused funding levels for the country’s pension funds to fall by 640 basis points, according to Towers Watson’s latest ‘Swiss Pension Finance Watch’.Every quarter, the consultancy puts together an index based on the ratio of assets to liabilities in Swiss Pensionskassen, which dropped to 96.5% as of the end of December 2014 from 102.9% as of the end of 2013 – which had been a record high since the financial crisis.Over the course of last year, the index dropped to around 100% in Q1 and slightly recovered in Q2 but then dropped back to 99.5% at the end of September.Peter Zanella, head of retirement solutions at Towers Watson in Zurich, said the increase in liabilities triggered by continually falling discount rates had been offset by strong returns, albeit “only to a certain extent”.
The installation of the subsea cable is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2021 and finish in the third quarter of 2023, consisting of seven individual laying campaigns. The tender remains open until 26 May. The contract is valued at around EUR 1.5 million. The tender calls for consultants working onboard the cable-laying vessels as client representatives for the full duration of the offshore cable laying campaigns. Viking Link is a joint project of Energinet and the UK’s National Grid Viking Link Limited. Prysmian will manufacture and install the entire 1,250-kilometre cable for the submarine route and all of the approximately 135 kilometres of land cables on the UK side. Danish transmission system operator Energinet is seeking client representatives for the 1400 MW Viking Link interconnector project. The tendered contract will comprise eleven client representatives, including a Project Manager/Coordinator. During the cable laying campaign, two client representatives will be on board the cable-laying vessels. The client representatives will thus be working two and two in shifts, so that one pair will take over for another upon the crew change. Scheduled to begin commercial operation at the end of 2023, Viking Link will be a 760-kilometre DC interconnector line between Revsing in southern Jutland, Denmark, and Bicker Fen in Lincolnshire, UK. The interconnector’s marine cable route has an approximate length of 630 kilometres. NKT will manufacture and deliver the onshore cables to be installed in Denmark. Siemens will deliver two converter stations for the 1,400MW interconnector.