Questions & Answers


Will people still be admitted to this plan?

No, with the change to the defined contributions plan on 1 January 2011, all new employees will be insured under the defined contributions plan.

How is Novartis Pension Fund 1 organized?

The information can be found on the page Defined contributions plan.

Could you give me an overview of the insured benefits?

  1. Retirement pension and any child pension for retirees (20% of retirement pension)
  2. Disability pension (100% of retirement pension) and any disability child pension (20% of disability pension)
  3. Souse‘s/domestic partner’s pension (60% of retirement pension), any orphan’s pension (20% of retirement pension) and any lump sum on death (200% of retirement pension in the event of death before the retirement age of 65)

Should I buy into the pension insurance in full with voluntary extra contributions?

This is usually recommended. If a claim situation arises (disability or death), missing contribution years can result in a reduced pension for you and your survivors. It should also be pointed out that deferment of such a purchase is associated with ever higher sums when you do eventually pay in extra contributions.

Voluntary extra contributions in the context of an occupational pension scheme are in principle tax deductible in Switzerland.

Should I buy into the incentive/bonus insurance?

This too constitutes a contribution to your Pillar 2 pension fund, which in principle entitles you to a tax deduction. At the time of retirement, you are then free to draw the amount you have saved (in full or in part) as a lump sum or in the form of a pension (subject to observance of certain timelines).

Please note that you may only buy into the incentive/bonus insurance if you are fully paid up in the pension insurance.

Can I use my Pillar 3 savings to pay extra contributions into Pillar 2?

Yes, you can, provided you are not already fully paid up in the pension insurance. However, if you have your tied private savings not in a bank, but with a life insurance company, you should enquire about the conditions of an early annulment of your Pillar 3a policy, because substantial surrender losses may be incurred.

What legal restrictions on voluntary extra contributions have to be observed?

New regulations on voluntary extra contributions came into force on 1 January 2006 with the third stage in the 1st revision of the law on occupational benefit schemes (BVG). On the one hand, it is stipulated that any increase in benefits resulting from voluntary extra contributions may not be taken as a lump sum within the ensuing three years, which can have an impact especially in the case of (early) retirement. In this respect, the conversion option that was already introduced at the beginning of 2004, according to which the retirement capital of the incentive/bonus and shift insurance can be taken not only as a lump sum, but also in the form of a pension both in normal and in early retirement, goes some way to accommodating your needs.

The second restriction affects those among you who have made an early withdrawal for home ownership purposes. Since 1 January 2006, voluntary extra contributions may only be made if such early withdrawals are paid back in full.

The third restriction affects people who move here from abroad and have never before belonged to a pension fund in Switzerland. In these cases, the annual sum of voluntary contributions during a “blocking period” of five years must not exceed the equivalent of 20% of the insured remunerations as defined in the regulations per year – this also applies in the case of a loan to buy into the pension fund with a repayment agreement.

Finally, as you know, when you move to a new job and join the pension fund of your new employer both the vested benefits from your former occupational pension fund and any further assets in Pillar 2 vested benefit institutions must by law be transferred, i.e. paid into the new pension fund.


Under what conditions am I entitled to a cash disbursement of my vested benefits?

  • When you take up self-employment as your main source of employment (in this case, a confirmation from the AHV compensation office is required)
  • If you are leaving Switzerland permanently (in this case, a confirmation by your local authority is required to show that you have signed off)
  • If the vested benefits are lower than your annual contribution.

In the case of a cash disbursement, the written (and authenticated) consent of your spouse / registered partner is necessary.

I am leaving, but I don’t yet have a new job. Can I provisionally leave my vested benefits in the Novartis Pension Fund?

No. You are required to open a vested benefits account or policy in your name with a bank or insurance company and send us instructions for the transfer of your vested benefits. If you do not do this, we must transfer your vested benefits to the Substitute Occupational Benefits Institution in Zurich (the fees and expenses of the institution will be charged to you).

Stiftung Auffangeinrichtung Zürich: Tel. 041 799 75 75 /

How will the bilateral agreements impact my cash disbursement options as a cross-border commuter?

The bilateral agreements between Switzerland and EU Member States and also Iceland and Norway (EFTA) only concern the legal minimum benefits. In addition, a transitional period of 5 years was fixed that expired on May 31, 2007. After this, i.e. for exits after May 31, 2007, restrictions arise for cash disbursement of the compulsory BVG part of vested benefits, if the person concerned moves to an EU Member State, where compulsory insurance likewise exists for the benefit risks of old age, disability and death.

The agreements thus affect primarily cross-border commuters, as well as all employees who leave the company before the age of 60, move abroad and want to take their vested benefits in cash. In these cases, only that part of the vested benefits that exceeds the BVG retirement assets can be paid out in cash, while the compulsory BVG part must be transferred to a vested benefits account with a bank or must be used to set up a vested benefits policy with an insurance company.

The agreements do not affect pension payments and lump-sum payments in the event of a claim situation arising or early withdrawals for home ownership purposes.


What is the ordinary retirement age according to the regulations?

For men and women: 65 years

Can I take a lump sum instead of a pension?

Payment of a lump sum up to a maximum of 25% of the retirement assets is possible – with a lifelong reduction in the retirement pension (married insured persons need the officially authenticated consent of the spouse / registered partner for this).

By when must I notify the Pension Fund of my decision about the pension and lump sum?

It is sufficient if you notify us of your decision in writing up to 1 month before retirement.

At what age is early retirement possible and under what conditions?

From the age of 60 and with a 2% reduction for every year of early pension payments.

Should I opt for the full pension or for a lump sum with a reduced pension?

We cannot make this decision for you. It depends on your pension needs and your life situation. We shall be happy to advise you.

Should I take the bridging pension or not?

The bridging pension before reaching the statutory (AHV) age of retirement increases the supplementary monthly pension of CHF 1500 granted by the Pension Fund (for those on a 100% average level of employment) to the maximum single AHV pension applicable at the time.

The increased benefit granted in advance results in a lifelong reduction in your retirement pension and other entitlements (i.e. spouse’s pension, child pension). Please note also that you might not reach the maximum AHV retirement pension – in the case of a low income or insufficient years of contributions.

Will my supplementary pension and any bridging pension be stopped if I claim or take early AHV payments?

No. In the event of early retirement the Novartis Pension Fund grants all its insured members a supplementary pension according to their average level of employment until they reach the statutory (AHV) retirement age.

Will I receive a full AHV pension at once?

That depends on how long you have paid in contributions, i.e. how long you have worked in Switzerland, and whether you have exceeded a certain level of income. Insured persons resident in Switzerland are advised to put any questions on this issue to the Ausgleichskasse Arbeitgeber, Viaduktstrasse 12, 4051 Basel ( or tel. +41 61 285 22 22).

Insured persons resident outside Switzerland should contact Caisse Suisse de Compensation, Av. Edmond-Vaucher 18, CH-1203 Geneva, tel. +41 22 795 91 11.

Can my pension also be paid out abroad?

Yes. However, you would be well advised to choose a reputable banking institute. For transfers we need the precise address of the bank with your account number, the corresponding IBAN and the BIC code.

I will soon be 65. Do I have to sort out my AHV myself?

Yes. Insured persons resident in Switzerland should contact the compensation office 3-4 months before their 65th birthday at Ausgleichskasse Arbeitgeber, Viaduktstrasse 12, 4051 Basel ( or tel. +41 61 285 22 22).

Insured persons resident outside Switzerland should contact Caisse Suisse de Compensation in Geneva, tel. +41 22 795 91 11.

Can I leave before the age of 60 and nevertheless retire with a pension from the age of 60?

No. You receive a pension when you terminate your employment at the age of 60 at the earliest.


How high is my disability pension?

The level of the full disability pension corresponds to the insured retirement pension and is paid in the event of full disability. In the case of partial disability, the Pension Fund pays a partial disability pension.

What does ‘disability’ mean?

Anyone who becomes wholly or partially unfit for work either permanently or for a prolonged period because of physical or mental ill-health resulting from a disease, infirmity or accident is considered to be disabled as is anyone deemed to be disabled within the meaning of the disability insurance (IV).

A person who can no longer perform or can only partially perform the work he was able to perform before the onset of the disability or any other work that could be reasonably expected of him and suffers a loss of income as a result is deemed to be partially or wholly disabled.

A decrease in fitness for work by less than 25% is not deemed to be a disability and therefore does not constitute an entitlement to disability benefits. If the extent of the disability is 70% or more, the insured person is considered to be fully disabled. The Pension Fund notes the disability, its extent and the time when it occurred in the application of the insured person or the company based on a medical appraisal and periodically reviews the situation if necessary. The extent of the disability conforms at least to the degree of disability stipulated by the IV.


What does my spouse get if I die?

The surviving spouse / registered partner receives 60% (100% if the survivor’s pension option was selected as from 2005) of the insured or current retirement or disability pension (provided the marriage lasted at least 5 years or one or more children have to be provided for.

If none of these conditions is met, the surviving partner receives a one-off payment equivalent to three years of the spouse’s pension). If the pension recipient dies before the age of 65, a lump sum on death is also due.

I am 58, widowed, and intend to marry again. Do I lose my spouse’s pension?

Yes, because you are not yet 60; in this case, you will receive a one-off settlement of three years’ pension. If you were to marry after the age of 60, you would continue to receive your spouse’s pension until your death.

My domestic partner of many years, a Novartis associate, has unfortunately died. Am I entitled to a pension?

For the entitlement to a domestic partner’s pension the following cumulative conditions must be met:

  • The insured person and his domestic partner are unmarried.
  • The two domestic partners are not related.
  • The partners can be shown to have lived in the same household for five years before the death and to have provided mutual support, or they have one or more children from the relationship
  • The support agreement was filed with the Pension Fund during the lifetime of the deceased.
  • In the case of pension recipients, the conditions must be met at the time of the first pension payment.
  • The conditions laid down in the regulations for the spouse’s pension are met (by analogy).

Will I lose my widow’s pension from Novartis Pension Fund when my AHV pension starts?

No, widow’s and widower‘s pensions are in principle lifelong pensions. However, the entitlement to a supplement to widow’s/widower’s pension as laid down in the regulations only applies provided and as long as no AHV/IV benefits are paid out (or payable).

I am a pensioner and married to a partner from abroad, with no children. Does my spouse get a spouse’s pension after my death, even if she returns to South America and even if she is much younger than me?

If a married insured person dies before or after retirement, his surviving spouse is entitled to a spouse’s pension, provided at the time of his death he

  • has one or more children to provide for or
  • is at least 35 years old and the marriage has lasted for at least 5 years.

Pensions are paid into the internal staff current account with Novartis, from where the payment can then be transferred to any private account (in Switzerland and abroad) as instructed.


What is the composition of the Board of Trustees?

The Board of Trustees of our Pension Fund is made up equally of seven employee representatives and seven employer representatives. The employee representatives are each elected for a four-year term of office.

What happens with my pension insurance after a salary increase?

For 5 months (April–August) a salary increase sum (= extraordinary contribution) is deducted from your salary. This amounts to 20% of the increase in your insured salary.

I received a pay increase during the year, but my Pension Fund contributions have remained the same.

Pay increases are only taken into account by the Pension Fund in April and only then is the extraordinary contribution registered.

I have to provide information on employee/ employer contributions to my pension insurance.

Up to the age of 25, you pay 1.0%; from age 25 you pay 4.6% ordinary contributions and a 0.3% special contribution. The company pays 1.5% for you up to age 25, then 9.2% and a 0.3% special contribution from the age of 25 onwards.

I am about to get a divorce – what should I do?

To calculate the divisible vested benefits, we need the date of your marriage and the likely date of your divorce or a corresponding reference date for the division of the vested benefits.