I have a few questions about what's been posted so far (forgive the necromancy), then I'll share my own strategy in case anyone is interested.
1) Withholding on Dividends
I don't think I've ever had any Swiss withholdings on my ETFs' dividends -- neither the Irish Vanguard ones, nor my Canadian-domiciled fund. In the S&P500 and TSX cases, only the expected 15% was withheld by the fund for the source country. Is it only Swiss-domiciled ETFs that are subject to 35% withholding? If that's the case, it would alleviate the delayed reinvestment concern for many ETFs.
2) Pillar 3a Funds
For those with 0.60% TER SwissCanto 3a funds, where do you hold them? My understanding is that you need to purchase them through banks (usually cantonal or small local ones), which then add additional fees that put the funds more or less on par with any other indexed offerings (from PostFinance, CS, etc).
Do-it-myself investment strategy:
1) Max out pillar 3a account (PostFinance Pension 45 fund).
2) Max out pillar 2 extra-mandatory contributions
3) Anything else goes to a handful of diverse ETFs
1) and especially 2) (given low interest rates) aren't great long-term investments growth-wise, but I view them as safe short-mid-term investments that have quite good short-term "performance" given the tax deductions. I expect to use these to buy a place to live, or to cash out if I start my own business or move out of country.
The ETFs are all equities (stocks; pillars 1 and 2 are bond-ish enough for me right now). I approximate VEVE (Vanguard Developed World) with the following Irish-domiciled funds and a few others (TER: ~0.10%):
I then home-country/currency tilt a bit with ZCN (Canada, my other home) and CHSPI. I hesitate to invest too much in the latter because 50% of its value is in just 3 of the 200 or so constituents (Novartis, Roche, and Nestlé are huge
) and I already have exposure via the 3a fund.
My broker is BCV's TradeDirect. I'm happy so far and fees are good by Swiss standards. One slight annoyance is that I can't buy the LSE-listed, USD-denominated version of VUSA through them (ticker "VUSD"). They don't seem to find it for whatever reason. Perhaps I'll try PostFinance's e-trading once they've moved on to SwissQuote's platform this fall.
Most people I know use Interactive Brokers instead. They'd be a bit cheaper for my use case, and their FX trading sounds great (I've used CurrencyFair thus far instead), but I like keeping the business local.