Finpension Review: The Best Pillar 3A in Switzerland?

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Overall rating of my finpension review:
4.8 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ · 🏆 Market Leader ·

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In this blog post I’m going to be reviewing the pillar 3A provider, finpension.

Finpension are a relatively new third pillar provider in Switzerland, however they have a long and established background offering second pillar pension services for individuals and corporate clients.

As common in all my reviews, I’ll be documenting the the full ‘end to end’ process with opening an account in this finpension review, and give you some of my personal pros and cons of the latest pillar 3A offering.

Open up the homepage yourself and use my guide below to follow along. I’ll be taking you through it all in this finpension review, step by step.

Make sure you also read the list of FAQ’s at the end of this review for more details and to see how it compares to VIAC. For now, lets see how finpension stacks up as a pillar 3A provider.

Ready? Lets get to it.

🎁 Reader Bonus: If you are ready to try finpension, don’t forget to use the promo code HEROBB for a 25 CHF fee credit + to be entered into the finpension raffle for a chance to win a full pillar 3A contribution worth 6.8K!

Finpension Review: Pros and Cons

Before we get to details of this finpension review, let’s check the top pros and cons.

Simply put – for those in Switzerland looking for an established and cost effective option for your pillar 3A, look no further than finpension.

They are a great platform to get started with, and make the entire process of setting up your private pension fund very painless.

If you are looking to invest your pillar 3a, which for most of us is a no brainer considering it will compound away for a few decades, finpension are also the cheapest and best value provider in Switzerland.

You’ll even get an extra 25 CHF fee credit with the promo code HEROBB!

The account opening process is very straight forward, the mobile and desktop experience very slick and the fees and flexibility on picking an investment portfolio are excellent. They also have everything translated (and support) in English language to help the expat community 🙂

🎁 Reader Bonus: If you are ready to try finpension, don’t forget to use the promo code HEROBB for a 25 CHF fee credit + to be entered into the finpension raffle for a chance to win a full pillar 3A contribution worth 6.8K!

Here’s a recap on some of my top takeaways from this finpension review:

ProsCons
  • Market leader in Switzerland
  • Hassle free account opening
  • Low fees
  • Lots of options and transparency with investment portfolios
  • 25 CHF fee credits + entry to raffle (with code HEROBB) to win 6.8K
  • Fairly new to the p3A scene
  • Swiss bonds are used in portfolios (negative returns)
  • No option for a vanilla cash pillar 3a

How to open an account with Finpension

Head over to the finpension homepage to get started.

> Click here to open the homepage

Click ‘Start web app’ get started:

Next click ‘Register New’ as shown below:

Enter your mobile number, password and toggle the switch to accept the terms of use. Then hit ‘Continue’ as shown below:

Enter the SMS code which has just arrived in the box and click ‘Continue’:

You’ll next see a confirmation your login has been created, nice and easy. Click ‘Continue’ to move along.

Next, a little primer of what’s to come. Risk, strategy and personal details.

Click ‘Start’ to er, start:

Now the risk assessment begins, select your gender and date of birth and click ‘Continue’:

You’ll then be shown a calculation of your investment horizon timeframe based on your age and the standard retirement age in Switzerland. Not sure we really needed a dedicated screen for that, but click ‘Continue’ to move on:

If you have other plans for your pillar 3a, you can edit the investment horizon here – otherwise click ‘No, skip’ to continue:

Now onto market risk.

How would you feel if the stock market tanked 20%? I would like to have seen a ‘Invest more because Christmas has come early baby!’ option, but make your choice from one of the three options below and click ‘Continue’:

Next, how much do you already know about investing? Make your choice…

You then get shown your rating based on those inputs, nothing to edit here – so click ‘Continue’ to move on:

Ok! Stage 1 is complete. Onwards we go.

Now you get a first glimpse of what you can invest in – you have by default a choice of Global, Swiss and Sustainable strategies – with an option to edit them all later on.

I’ve selected Global in this example, once ready click ‘Continue’:

Then another confirmation screen, Equity 80 likely meaning 80% of the portfolio invested in stocks. Click ‘Continue’ to move on:

Starting to look more interesting – you can cycle through the different strategies and see how they compare over the long term.

A nice touch is you get to see the details of the actual investment vehicles further down the page, for example ‘CSIF (CH) Equity Switzerland Large Cap Blue ZB’ which is great transparency.

By default, you get a good mix of large cap, small cap and global exposure in the portfolio.

It would be even nicer if you could see the factsheets and country split for these funds – or at least an indication you can in your account later to avoid disrupting the onboarding process.

Once you are happy, click ‘Choose Strategy’ to move on:

All done! That was pretty easy… Click continue to move onto your personal details:

First up is your name and address, once entered hit Continue:

Enter your marital status from the dropdown menu:

Now your email address:

The final agreement screen to approve, and then ‘Finish’

One final, but important step.

Don’t forget to enter the code HEROBB into the box here to claim your 25 CHF in fee credit, and to be entered into the raffle for your chance to win 6.8K!

Put HEROBB in the box below and click ‘To the portfolio’ :

Logging in for the first time

Once you’ve completed the above, the first screen will ask you to confirm if you want two factor authentication on – which is on by default, just click ‘Save’:

You’ll then arrive at your dashboard, which is nice and clean but has everything you need. I really like the simplistic design and layout.

As you can see in the screenshot below, documents (e.g. transactions, tax docs etc) are listed on the left, and you can also edit your profile from the same sidebar.

All very simple and easy to use.

Funding your account

Again from the dashboard, simply click ‘Deposit’ to fund your account:

You then have the choice to make a new deposit, or transfer an existing 3a savings account.

In this example, I’ll pick transfer:

Now you can download/email the PDF form to complete to transfer your pillar 3a over to finpension:

…It’s as simple as that. The form just needs the address of your current provider adding and dropping in the post.

Login & Security

Industry standard SSL encryption and https are used on the pension platform, with two-factor authentication (mobile SMS) are enabled by default to login. If you are using the mobile apps you can also enable biometric (e.g. FaceID) authentication.

Technical security aside, lets talk about the company finpension itself. They are not a bank, but using the custodian bank Credit Suisse to hold client cash, which is comforting as Swiss law insures this up to 100K CHF.

For your invested assets (e.g. the equities in your pillar 3a) these are also held with Credit Suisse, but the institutional arm of the bank which looks after billions and billions of CHF. So pretty solid by pension standards.

Its worth noting finpension are the asset managers of your fund, and not the owners – the funds sit within the pension foundation and are separate to the finpension balance sheet. Which is important should they get into any financial trouble – the assets remain in your hands.

Fees & Charges

Finpension fees are absolutely rock bottom, and for investment portfolios which lean towards having more than 40% equities they are the cheapest in Switzerland at just 0.39% (0.42% inc. VAT).

And that’s 0.39% ALL IN – including product costs, portfolio management & rebalancing. To bring this all in at 0.39% is quite remarkable.

In addition there is no extra markup on foreign currency fees, no commissions and in general – nothing hidden away in the terms and conditions.

Considering the decade+ timeline for most of us with the pillar 3A, you’ll likely have at least a 60% equity allocation, making finpension a really good deal and at time of writing the best in Switzerland.

If however, you have a portfolio which is under 40% equities, then VIAC just has the edge on paper, at 0.28%, but it is worth cross checking the margin rates added to foreign currency with them.

You can also reduce your annual rate further with the promo code HEROBB which gives you an additional 25 CHF off the fee.

Customer Support

Customer support is good with finpension, they support multilanguage and I haven’t had any problems with contacting them via phone and email.

There is no live/in app chat support to quickly raise requests without having to identify yourself over email – maybe this could be optimised in the future team finpension 😉

Additional Resources

Finpension have a nice FAQ which covers a lot of common issues, its very extensive and actively maintained in multiple languages. They also have a decent blog and are posting regularly on topics around pensions and tax optimization which is nice to see – it’s not just a PR channel, and the articles are actually pretty helpful.

It’s refreshing to see blog content that isn’t just focused on self promotion. Kudos finpension for upping your content marketing game.

They have accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn although aren’t’ super active, and have a newsletter to keep up with general updates.

Background info on Finpension

Finpension was founded in 2015 to offer pension solutions to corporate clients. They have since grown to offer both vested benefits (aka the second pillar) solutions and in 2020 introduced their new pillar 3A offering you are reading about here.

They currently employ 24 professionals and have over 800 Million CHF assets under management.

They are headquartered Hirschmattstrasse 36, 6003 Luzern.

Closing Thoughts

For those looking for a pillar 3A provider, finpension are a great choice. In most cases they have everything you need to get started simply and efficiently without hidden costs and complex investing options. You can get onboarded quickly, setup a monthly standing order and let the tax efficient vehicle compound for years to come.

VIAC and Frankly are strong competitors in the space, which also have their pros and cons which are worth considering. You can check out the reviews for each of those and make your choice.

But for now, combined with their simple onboarding, great pricing and investment portfolio options, finpension are an excellent choice to get started with getting your pillar 3A working for you.

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this finpension review useful!

🎁 Reader Bonus: If you are ready to try finpension, don’t forget to use the promo code HEROBB for a 25 CHF fee credit + to be entered into the finpension raffle for a chance to win a full pillar 3A contribution worth 6.8K!

Finpension FAQ

Does finpension create the needed documents for my tax return?

Yes. They are generated automatically and available within your account.

Can you open multiple pillar 3a accounts with finpension?

Yes, you can open up to five accounts. Depending on your canton this can be beneficial for tax purposes.

Is there a voucher code for finpension?

Yes, use code HEROBB to claim your 25 CHF discount on fees and to be entered into the raffle for a chance to win 6.8K.

Can you use a desktop web browser with finpension?

Yes, you can access your finpension account via any modern web browser.

What is my pillar 3a invested in with finpension?

finpension use low cost index funds provided by Credit Suisse to build your portfolio. The amount of equities used will depend on your investment horizon and risk rating.

Is finpension a bank?

No. Their custodian bank is Credit Suisse.

finpension or VIAC?

From a pricing perspective finpension are the cheaper than VIAC with portfolios containing over 40% equites. I’ve written full reviews for each which go deeper in the details.

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