VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits: Best account in 2022?

By Baptiste Wicht | Updated: | Retirement

(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)

People that are between jobs in Switzerland transfer their second pillar to a vested benefits account. It is essential to choose the best vested benefits account.

There are many vested benefits account providers in Switzerland. Unfortunately, there are not many great options. So, it is crucial to choose the best account for your needs.

VIAC and Finpension Vested Benefits currently are the best options available for vested benefits accounts. So, let’s see which of VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits you should choose!

In 2021, valuepension rebranded as Finpension Vested Benefits, but the offer remains the same.

I am going to compare both options in great detail. We will look at their investment models, their fees, and the security of both accounts.

VIAC Vested Benefits

I have talked many times about VIAC on this blog. They are providing a great pillar in Switzerland. And in May 2020, they also started offering a second pillar (vested benefits) account.

VIAC is a digital provider. You will use the web application to manage your account online. They also have a mobile application to manage your account if you prefer.

Their vested benefits accounts follow the same philosophy as their third pillar account:

  • Low Fees
  • High allocation into stocks
  • Good diversification

If you want more information, I have made a review of VIAC vested benefits.

Finpension Vested Benefits

Best vested benefits account
Finpension Vested Benefits
Vey affordable

Finpension Vested Benefits is the best account in Switzerland.

Use the FEYKV5 code to get win 25 CHF in your account!

Pros:
  • Invest 99% in stocks

Finpension Vested Benefits started in 2017 as vested benefits account provider under the name valuepension. They later rebranded as Finpension Vested Benefits in 2021. Finpension Vested Benefits is a second pillar foundation. The assets of the foundation are managed by finpension.

Finpension is a digital provider. You will use the web interface to access and manage your account.

Interestingly, they also plan to extend in the third pillar provider world. This means that they will also be an alternative to VIAC for the third pillar. It is going to be an interesting comparison, as well.

If you want more information, read my complete review of Finpension Vested Benefits.

Investment Models

Let’s start by comparing the investment models of VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits.

Both VIAC and Finpension have very similar investment models. They will invest your portfolio in index funds. They are both using cheap well-diversified index funds. They are using funds of the same quality. I would say that their investment philosophies are both very good.

Both invest in index funds instead of ETFs. Pension funds have access to better index funds than us because they can waive most of the fees. So it does not make sense to invest in ETFs for them.

Both Finpension Vested Benefits and VIAC will rebalance your portfolio once a month if necessary. So, if you make any change to your portfolio, it will only be applied at the beginning of the following month. In both cases, this is done for free. And there is no reason to change more often. So this is a good point for both companies.

They both have different sets of default strategies. We can take a look at the default strategies of VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits:

  • VIAC uses names with the number of stocks in it. For instance, Global 80 is a globally diversified fund with 80% in stocks (note that Global 100 has 97% in stocks). And VIAC has three sets of strategies: Global, Switzerland, and Sustainable.
  • Finpension Vested Benefits has the same naming. For instance, Finpension Aktien 100 has 99% in stocks, while Aktien 80 has 80%. Finpension also has three groups of strategies: Global, Sustainable, and Switzerland.

The default strategies of VIAC are more polished than Finpension’s. However, they both allow you to customize your portfolio in detail. This is where we are going to see the limits of both accounts.

Here, there are some significant differences between both. They both allow a high level of customization, but their limits are different.

  1. Finpension Vested Benefits allows you to invest up to 99% in stocks, while VIAC allows you up to 97%. This may sound like little, but in the long-term, this could make a significant difference in your returns.
  2. VIAC only lets you invest 80% in stocks for the mandatory portion of your second pillar. With Finpension, you can invest up to 99% in stocks for both parts of your second pillar. If you want to invest everything in stocks, this will make a huge difference!
  3. VIAC only lets you invest 60% in foreign currencies (non-CHF) instruments. On the other hand, Finpension Vested Benefits has no limit. This means you could invest 99% of your portfolio in U.S. stocks if you wanted to.
  4. They have different limits per asset class. For instance, you can only invest 10% in gold at VIAC, while you can invest 20% with Finpension Vested Benefits. Finpension lets you invest up to 50% for real estate, while VIAC only enables you to invest 30%. Overall, Finpension Vested Benefitshas higher limits. But these asset classes should not make a large portion of your portfolio anyway.

In light of this, Finpension Vested Benefits is offering significantly better vested benefits portfolios! You can invest more in stocks, and you have a much better capacity to invest in foreign currency instruments.

VIAC still offers excellent conditions when you compare it with all the other vested benefits account out there. However, they do not provide a better account when you compare it with Finpension Vested Benefits.

Let’s see the differences in fees.

Fees – VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits

Fees are the only thing you control when you invest in stocks. So, it is essential to optimize fees if you invest in the long term. So, let’s compare the fees of VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits.

The most important fees for your retirement accounts are the management fees. These are the fees you will pay every year on your invested amount. This is significantly more than flat fees in the long term. But many people ignore them because they are small numbers.

Finpension Vested Benefits has a fixed fee of 0.49% per year. On top of that, some of their funds have some extra fees (real estate, for instance). But you can choose not to use them, which will put the base fee at precisely 0.49% per year. However, this is without TVA. So, the actual fee you will pay is 0.53% per year.

VIAC has a fee that depends on your portfolio. I will take the Global portfolio as an example since this is the portfolio that would suit most people. It has a fee of 0.51%. Since VIAC is a pension fund company, they do not pay TVA, so this is the complete fee.

On top of that, VIAC has some fees for foreign currency exchanges. For this, they pay a 0.75% fee. However, this is optimized between customers. In practice, it seems like it should be about a 0.05% fee per year. So VIAC has a total fee of 0.56% per year.

So, for management fees, Finpension Vested Benefits is slightly cheaper than VIAC. This is a difference of 0.03% per year. If you have 100’000 CHF in your portfolio, this is a difference of 30 CHF per year.

There is an exception if you do not fully invest in stocks or bonds. With Finpension Vested Benefits, you will always pay the same regardless of your investment in stocks or bonds. But with VIAC, you will only pay a fee for the invested part. If you have 20% in cash, you will only pay 80% of the fee. So, if you have a non-invested portfolio, you will not pay any fees at VIAC, but you will pay the full fee at Finpension Vested Benefits.

On top of that, both companies have other one-time fees. With VIAC, you will pay 300 CHF if you buy a house with the money in your vested benefits account.

With Finpension Vested Benefits, you have a few more one-time fees:

  • 400 CHF if you leave Finpension within one year of joining
  • 200 CHF for pledging your portfolio
  • 500 CHF for withdrawing the money to buy a house
  • 500  CHF for withdrawing the money while abroad
    • 1500 CHF if you do it within one year of joining

So, Finpension Vested Benefits is more expensive for special operations. But in most cases, people will only pay these fees once or even never for some people.

For some people, there is one extra significant difference between the two offers: the domicile of the foundation. If you are retiring in Switzerland, this will not matter to you. But if you plan to leave Switzerland and withdraw your second pillar, it is important. The difference is that when you withdraw money from your second pillar account, you will be taxed based on the place your assets are managed. If you withdraw in Switzerland, your tax domicile will be used instead.

VIAC is in Basel, and Finpension Vested Benefits is in Schwytz. And Schwytz is the best state in Switzerland for that. They have the lowest second pillar withholding tax in Switzerland. If you work many years and have a large second pillar amount, this can account for more than 10’000 CHF saved (with about 300’000 CHF) compared to Basel.

So, if you want to withdraw your money while abroad, Finpension Vested Benefits will allow you to save a lot of money on withdrawal taxes!

Sustainable Investing

More and more people want to invest sustainably. This means they want their money to work on companies that work for a better future and not only for profits. So, we can compare the sustainable options of VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits.

Both companies offer a way to invest sustainably. With VIAC, you can directly choose a Sustainable strategy (Sustainable 100, Sustainable 80, …). You can also create your portfolio and choose sustainable funds. They have some Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) funds and some Environment Social and Governance (ESG) funds.

With Finpension Vested Benefits, you do not have a default strategy with sustainable options. But you can also opt for a custom portfolio and choose sustainable funds. They have a few ESG funds. But they have less choice of sustainable funds than VIAC.

Note that in both cases, you will pay slightly more fees for these portfolios. Indeed, all sustainable funds are more expensive than their non-sustainable equivalent. This will not make an enormous difference, but still relevant to realize this.

You can invest sustainably with both VIAC and Finpension Vested Benefits. They each offer sustainable strategies that can change to using sustainable funds.

Safety of your assets

Over the years, you will have a lot of money in your vested benefits. So, it is essential to know that your assets are safe. So, let’s compare the safety of your assets between VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits.

In Switzerland, pension accounts are well regulated. They are all under the same law.

For both of these companies, your assets are segregated from the pension foundation. However, the organization is slightly different.

With VIAC, VIAC is your fund manager. Your cash assets are held by WIR Bank, and the shares are held by Credit Suisse. And the foundation in charge of the assets is the WIR Vested Benefits Foundation. If VIAC bankrupts, the foundation will find another manager for your assets. If WIR Bank bankrupts, your assets are protected by Swiss law by up to 100’000 CHF in cash. Your shares of funds are held in your name and are safe.

Finpension Vested Benefits is the actual foundation in charge of the assets. finpension is the asset manager. If finpension fails, the foundation will find a new asset manager for your assets. And if the bank holding your assets fails, your shares are in your name, and your cash is insured for up to 100’000 CHF.

With both Finpension Vested Benefits and VIAC, your assets are as safe as they can be in Switzerland. They have the same level of safety.

Technical Security

We can also compare the technical security of VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits.

In both cases, there is very little you can do from the account. Since you cannot withdraw money from the application, security is not as important as a bank account. But the application still contains a lot of your data, and your portfolio could be changed, so you cannot neglect security either.

Both accounts are very similarly protected. First, all the connections are encrypted. Then, they are both using second-factor authentication (2FA) using your phone. They will send you an SMS code to confirm your identity. But they are doing it differently:

  • Finpension will always ask your second factor when you login
  • VIAC will only request your second factor when you do a major action like modifying your information or portfolio.

Now, there are pros and cons to both approaches. However, I prefer having to write my second factor every single time. That way, my personal information is protected from someone having my password.

So, I will say that Finpension’s security is slightly better than VIAC’s. But this is a small difference. Both companies have sound security for your money.

Summary – VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits

Let’s summarize the main points of VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits:

Best vested benefits account
 
5.0
4.5
Pros:
  • Invest 99% in stocks
  • Very good investment strategy
  • High investment in foreign currency
  • Very low management fees
  • Great customization
  • Best fund domicile for withdrawing abroad
Pros:
  • Invest 97% in stocks
  • Very good investment strategy
  • Good for sustainable investing
Cons:
  • More expensive if you do not invest fully in stocks
Cons:
  • Limited to 60% foreign currencies
  • Limited customization
  • Suboptimal for withdrawing abroad
Security:
Good
Security:
Good
Best vested benefits account
5.0
Pros:
  • Invest 99% in stocks
  • Very good investment strategy
  • High investment in foreign currency
  • Very low management fees
  • Great customization
  • Best fund domicile for withdrawing abroad
Cons:
  • More expensive if you do not invest fully in stocks
Security:
Good
4.5
Pros:
  • Invest 97% in stocks
  • Very good investment strategy
  • Good for sustainable investing
Cons:
  • Limited to 60% foreign currencies
  • Limited customization
  • Suboptimal for withdrawing abroad
Security:
Good

In most cases, Finpension Vested Benefits offers a better vested benefits account:

  • Finpension Vested Benefits lets you invest more in stocks.
  • Finpension Vested Benefits has slightly lower management fees.
  • Finpension Vested Benefits lets you invest more in foreign currency instruments.
  • VIAC has lower fees if you do not fully invest in stocks.
  • VIAC has low fees for special operations like pledging.
  • VIAC is slightly better for sustainable investing.
  • Finpension Vested Benefits is much better if you plan to withdraw the money outside Switzerland.

Finpension Vested Benefits will be a better fit for most people. For people not investing fully in stocks, VIAC will be slightly cheaper. But these people may want to review this decision.

Conclusion

Best vested benefits account
Finpension Vested Benefits
Vey affordable

Finpension Vested Benefits is the best account in Switzerland.

Use the FEYKV5 code to get win 25 CHF in your account!

Pros:
  • Invest 99% in stocks

So, let’s conclude this comparison of VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits.

After this comparison, Finpension Vested Benefits is the best vested benefits account available in Switzerland in 2020. They have several advantages over VIAC:

  • Finpension Vested Benefits lets you invest more in stocks, which is excellent for long-term returns.
  • Finpension Vested Benefits lets you invest more in foreign stocks, which is great for diversification.
  • Finpension Vested Benefits has slightly lower management fees.

VIAC is still a great vested benefits account compared to other alternatives. But compared to Finpension Vested Benefits, it simply falls short!

There is one place where VIAC is better than Finpension Vested Benefits: when you want to invest a small amount in stocks. If you invest little in stocks, VIAC is better because you pay a lower fee. But you should ask yourself why you want to invest little in stocks.

If you want to learn more about Finpension, you can read my interview with finpension’s CEO, Beat Buhlmann. They also are offering the best third pillar in Switzerland.

So, that concludes our comparison of VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits. If you have any experience with one of them, I would love to hear about it!

Baptiste Wicht is the author behind thepoorswiss.com. In 2017, he realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut on his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2019, he is saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

17 thoughts on “VIAC vs Finpension Vested Benefits: Best account in 2022?”

  1. It seems finpension has updated theirs fees. Major change to quiting the account (1500 chf) and advise for doing operations abroad. I could not find the fees for viac yet. Could you update the article so it reflects the current situation ?

  2. Thanks again for your articles.
    In the case where you become independent/freelance or stop working altogether, there is also the possibility to do both VIAC and FinPension. If your former employer’s Foundation agrees, you will benefit from a tax perspective to split the amount in 2, so you need 2 providers for that.
    Regarding VIAC domicile in Basel, it is a good point in case you move out of the country. That being said, you can always use a Schwyz base provider such as liberty. They are OK basically receiving the funds, and 2 days later transferring the money out again.

    1. Hi Nick,

      That’s correct. You are allowed to split your vested benefits into two when you leave your employer. That way you can withdraw in two different years as well.
      That’s a good strategy, but that only applies to people retiring earlier than the official age.

  3. I am with Frankly and Viac. I will probably move everything to Finpension, because there is a great fund, that should outperform all others long term. Guess which fund !! ;-)

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for the great and detailed comparison.
    I recently opened an account at VIAC, and I am happy so far.
    What decided me is that rebalancing is every week at VIAC, when monthly at valuepension. I find this very important when you want to change your strategy, as market is going down. Waiting 1 month to change is definitely too long.

    Thanks for your blog
    Philippe

    1. For a good month now, we have also been trading weekly for the Vested Benefits Foundation (for the index strategies). In addition, you pay no costs for foreign currency exchange with finpension.

  5. Thanks for the great Article!

    Rendita Vested Benefits has an management fee of CHF 10 per quarter i.e. every three months. It appears that it is a fixed fee per year and that there are no other fees…(interest is 0.010%).

    How does this compare to the fees of valuepension and VIAC?

    Thanks for your support.

    Savantes

    1. Hi Savantes,

      I took a look at their website and there is very little information on what they invest. So, just this lack of transparency for me would be a big NO!
      I would be extremely surprised if there is no other fee, they present it like but if they invest in funds behind, there will be some fees (other than the 10 CHF per quarter which does not matter).

      You should ask them for details: how much in stocks? Stocks? ETFs? Mutual Funds? Real fees for securities account?
      Without that information (it should be on their website), it’s impossible to compare them.

  6. Thank you for the nice post!

    I have the following question: I think there are situations where you have the choice of keeping a vested benefits account, or to transfer it to the traditional pension fund of your employer. For example, if you stop working in Switzerland for a limited time, go abroad and then come back, etc.

    What would you advise in such a situation? Should one try to find a good vested benefits account and invest in stocks, or instead have the pension fund manage your entire second pillar?

    I understand that this may be a hard question, because the optimal choice may strongly depend on how long you will live. Pension funds will usually pay a monthly pension after the age of 64 or so, and not a lump sum. There may also be pension funds of different quality and benefits. But I would still love to hear your thoughts on this.

    1. Hi Sam,

      I do not think there is a choice, unfortunately. I know that there are some people that do that. But legally, you are supposed to transfer all your vested benefits to your new employer once you start working.
      If it was possible, I would recommend keeping as much as possible into a good vested benefits account (valuepension probably).
      But in that way, I think you will have to transfer everything.

      If there are some legal loopholes, I am not aware of them.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Hi,
    Greta article, thanks for comparing. I think there is also a further benefit with Valuepension for taking the funds out of Switzerland if you leave. As they are located in Schwyz, the Tax will be lower?

    Cheers
    DZ

    1. Hi Doods,

      You are absolutely right. I was supposed to include that and I completely forgot. I have updated this.
      Schwyz is the best state for this tax. Compared to Basel (VIAC), this could make a very significant difference for people wanting to retire outside of Switzerland.

      Thanks for letting me know!

  8. Thanks for the great Article!
    I have a question that might be too basic, but I really want to know how it works since I moved to CH just 5 years ago.

    The company I work for opened a second pillar account and they deposit and discount part of my salary to deposit there. (But I could not choose this account).

    What you are saying is that I can transfer the money from this account they opened to an account of my option (VIAC or valuepension vested vested account?)

    Or the vested account is on top of that, works like a second pillar but is on top of the investments my company does and also I do and its discounted from my salary?

    Since I still have 28 years ahead before retiring, it will be interesting to invest more money for my retirement.

    BTW, I already have the VIAC 3rd pillar and I am happy so far..

    Thanks for your support.

    Daniel

    1. Hi Daniel,

      Unfortunately, you cannot choose the second pillar provider when you are working. It’s your company choosing.
      But when you stop working, you can transfer this to a vested benefits account.
      So, unfortunately, for people still actively working, there is nothing we can do :(

      Thanks for stopping by!

Leave a Reply

Your comment may not appear instantly since it has to go through moderation. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *