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Swiss Life Forum 2001: Modern Financial Services in the Long-Term Savings Sector


At the 4th "Swiss Life Forum", many representatives of the economic, scientific and political elite discussed present-day questions on the topic of long-term savings. It was agreed that modern financial instruments would play an important role in the future long-term savings sector; new solutions are urgently required in these dynamic and globalised surroundings that are marked by volatile markets and low interest rates.
The "Swiss Life Forum" is organised by Swiss Life/Rentenanstalt and was held today for the fourth time. The event again attracted numerous clients as well as representatives of the economic, scientific and political elite who met at the Zurich "Kongresshaus". This year's event was concerned with "Modern Financial Services in the Long-Term Savings Sector" and it was discussed how the frame conditions for long-term savings might develop in the future and what would be required from long-term savings providers and their solutions.

In his introductory comment, Hans-Jörg Rudloff, Chairman of Barclays Capital, London, spoke on the frame conditions of today’s globalised financial industry. The expert, also known as Mr. Eurobond, underlined the importance of global capital flows and described the complexity of open economies in the emerging markets.

Christoph Koellreuter, Director and Head Economist of Basel Economics (BAK) and FDP President Gerold Bührer based their speeches on the development of the economic and political environment: in Koellreuter's opinion, the revolution of information and communication technology is proceeding, albeit in the US not quite as fast as before. Bührer emphasised that fiscal policies should not be directed primarily at short-term, economic considerations. It is much more important that they improve the prerequisites required for growth, employment and self-responsible long-term savings in the long run.

Manfred Zobl, President of Swiss Life/Rentenanstalt's Corporate Executive Board, explained how Swiss Life/Rentenanstalt was able to adjust to the strongly changing long-term savings market in a very short time span. Nowadays, it is no longer enough just to sell an insurance policy, because clients are increasingly demanding individual solutions that take optimal account of their life situation. Zobl is certain that a high amount of competence in the asset and risk management sectors is indispensable in order to provide clients with corresponding solutions.

During the workshops, Swiss Life/Rentenanstalt experts discussed, among others, alternative investment categories such as hedge funds and private equity. They explained their uses and risks and why alternative investments are an ideal supplement for pension fund portfolios in times of volatile markets and low interest rates.

Heinz Peter Zeidler, Manager of the Clariant Pension Fund, voiced his views as a long-term savings client. He, too, stressed that the Clariant Pension Fund uses modern financial vehicles within the frame of its separate means and that it invests in selected investment categories such as real estate funds, eastern European stocks or also private equity.

Finally, National Councillor Hans Kaufmann spoke on the outlook for the stock markets. He explained that in the future, stock markets would be marked by three trends leading to promising stock market gains: health and private retirement savings, the next growth phase in telecommunication as well as the emerging markets based on growth of the population.