How to open a VIAC third pillar in a few easy steps

Posted on Categories Investment, Switzerland
How to open a VIAC third pillar in a few easy steps

I recently compared the different third pillars available in Switzerland. I quickly came to the conclusion that VIAC provides the best third pillars in Switzerland. VIAC third pillars are cheap and have a very good global diversification. Moreover, you can have up to 97% of your portfolio invested in stocks. Before, my only problem with VIAC was that they are mobile-only. But I need to go over this small problem and be smarter about it! And since PostFinance increased their fees, I decided to walk away from them earlier than I planned.

Now that I have chosen my new third pillar, it is time to do the transfer. For this, I first have to open an account at VIAC. Then, I have to transfer my existing third pillar money from PostFinance to VIAC. In this post, I am going to describe the steps necessary to open a VIAC third pillar. In a second time, I am also going to describe how to transfer an existing third pillar to VIAC.

As you will see it is incredibly easy. If you think it is difficult to open a new third pillar and transfer your existing third pillar money on it, then I hope I will convince you that it is trivial! You should not delay changing a bad third pillar for a good one by the fear that it is difficult. Because it is not!

VIAC Referral program

VIAC Referral Program
VIAC Referral Program (Source: VIAC)

I would like to start by mentioning VIAC Referral program. Because it can help you save some money! And you need the code during the registration itself.

It is very interesting to note that VIAC offers a very interesting referral program. If you refer a friend, your fees on 500 CHF of your administrated will be waived. And your friend also gets 500 CHF of its portfolio managed for free! So if you use a referral code during the registration, 500 CHF of your net worth will be managed for free!

You can refer up to three friends. In the best case, that is 1500 CHF that will be managed for free. And this is for life. The Global 100 portfolio has a TER of 0.53. That means that you will save 7.95 CHF per year. Since I will get my third pillar in 35 years, that means I can save up to 278.25 CHF. That is pretty nice!

And do not forget that this 7.95% per year will get returns from the stock market. If you have 5% returns each year from the stock market, this will save you over 750 CHF over the course of 35 years. That is nothing to laugh at!

I still have two referral codes if you are interested. Here they are:

  • X53AAh
  • eZ6j84

Let me know if you use them ;) If they are not available anymore, you can find more on MP’s forum.

Open a VIAC third pillar

The first thing to do is obviously to create a new account at VIAC. This account will allow you to manage your third pillar. At VIAC, everything is done on your mobile phone. So you only need your smartphone and internet access to create an account. And it is very easy. And the entire application is available in English, French, German and Italian!

Here are the very simple steps you have to do to register your account.

  1. Download the VIAC application on your phone and install it.
  2. Start the app and push the Register button.
  3. Enter your phone number and choose a strong password. Your phone number will be your login for your account. Be sure to remember your password. Ideally, you want something that is easy to write on your phone keyboard. You will only use this password on the phone.
  4. Enter the code that you received on your phone. You will find the code in your messages if you did not see the notification.
  5. Enter your personal information. Make sure that you enter everything correctly. It is very easy to do a mistake on a phone.
  6. Enter whether you pay the AVS (first pillar) and whether you pay the second pillar. Basically, this depends if you are self-employed or not.
  7. You need to answer a lot of questions about your investor profile. From these questions, VIAC will recommend an investing strategy (basically a portfolio) for you.
  8. Then you can choose your strategy: I recommend Global 100 if you have a long-term perspective like me. VIAC will recommend something to you based on the investing strategy your questions lead to. But you are free to choose the strategy you want.
  9. Then you will need to scan your ID or passport. You can simply take a picture from the application. Very easy!
  10. You can write your signature from your phone to agree to the opening of your portfolio. Once again, they made it very simple!
  11. If you have a Referral code, you can enter one now. You can take a look at the previous section to have more details on what it means.
  12. That is it! You now have a VIAC account!
  13. You can directly validate your mail. Go to Profile > Settings and you will have an option to validate your email.

In total, it took me less than five minutes to open an account. And this is counting the time to write down the steps for the blog. They did a very good job on simplifying the process to the maximum.

Transfer your third pillar

If you already have a third pillar account in another bank, you will want to transfer that money from your previous provider to VIAC. Thanks for VIAC, this is actually extremely simple :)

First of all, if your third pillar money is into retirement funds in your current third pillar provider, you will need to sell the funds. You can only transfer cash. That means you may lose on the market (or gain on the market) during the transfer. It is quite possible that you are out of the market for one month or so during the transfer of your funds.

First, you need to get the transfer form document. For this, you can request it from VIAC:

  1. Open the VIAC application on your phone.
  2. Login to the application with your phone number and password.
  3. Go to Deposit (on the bottom bar).
  4. Choose Transfer (button on the bottom).
  5. Click “Send Form by Email”

Open your email account and print the PDF that VIAC just sent to you. VIAC already prefilled most of the document for you. Therefore, you only have to fill a few information. You need to set the information about your current third pillar provider. In my case, it was PostFinance. You also need to fill the account number of your third pillar. You should be able to find this information in your e-banking or on your yearly third pillar statement. Finally, you have to date and sign the document. You can now send the document to VIAC by mail and they will take care of everything for you. The address for the mail is on the document.

I sent the document by mail two weeks ago. After two days, VIAC already answered me that they transferred the necessary documents to PostFinance. After this, PostFinance needed to do the transfer of the money to VIAC. It was a really fast process. After one week, my money was transferred at VIAC. I was surprised by how fast it was :)

I do not know how long it will take other banks to make the transfer. However, I know that some banks are really fast to do that while other banks are really slow at doing it. Fortunately, PostFinance turned out to be one of the fast ones.

After I received the money in my VIAC account, the cash is transferred to my portfolio at the next rebalance date (tomorrow normally). Normally, a rebalance is occurring at VIAC every first day of the month. On that day, the money is allocated according to your portfolio. Before, it is only cash. I will keep you updated once my money is transferred to my portfolio.

Conclusion

I am very pleased by the registration process of VIAC. It is incredibly easy. It is one of the easiest registration I have done in Switzerland for quite some time. For comparison, doing the registration of my new private bank account at Migros Bank was much more difficult. With VIAC, everything is simple. They are off with a great start for me.

I have not yet received the money on my VIAC account. I am expecting that this will take a while. But it was really incredibly easy to do it as well. I will write again about this on the blog once I receive the money :)

What about you? Which third pillar do you have? What do you think of VIAC?

2 thoughts on “How to open a VIAC third pillar in a few easy steps”

  1. Nice article as usual :)

    The only comment I have is that you may have underestimated the return from the savings you make from the referral program. If you consider the compounding effect and assume an average return of 7% on the equity market, then this gives me a saving of 1099.- over 35 years. This is significantly more than 278.25.-

    My take home message is: don’t neglect the effect of a small amounts! Over a long period a yearly saving of 7.95.- can turn into a huge number over time. This is even more important with ETFs and mutual funds – a small difference in the expense ratio has a huge effect in the long run (as you have nicely described in your earlier articles)

    1. Hi RB,

      You the effect of compounding the savings? The first year you will get 7.95 and then they will get some interest, that is what you mean?
      You are right, I didn’t consider that case. I just added a paragraph mentioning this :)

      Thanks for mentioning it :)

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