Author Topic: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?  (Read 82998 times)

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #100 on: January 15, 2015, 06:26:45 AM »
yep for us at the beginning is not so bad. And if you were a retiree in Switzerland, well now it's the time for a six month vacation somewhere :D

samuck

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #101 on: January 15, 2015, 06:33:53 AM »
Wow, this drop is scary! Is this a good time for Swiss to buy international stock? Or should one wait and see?

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #102 on: January 15, 2015, 07:54:43 AM »
difficult to say.

The only thing one should do is stick to his investment plan. If this drop moved your asset allocation out of your rebalancing limits, then rebalance.
If not, then do nothing.

robotclown

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 152
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #103 on: January 15, 2015, 08:10:27 PM »
When I heard the Swiss stock market had tanked this morning, my first thought was to go and buy some shares in Nestle.  Then, I notice the ADR is up 6% (the Swiss-listed one is down 6%)  I assume this is because of exchange rates?

samuck

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #104 on: January 15, 2015, 11:08:52 PM »

I notice the ADR is up 6% (the Swiss-listed one is down 6%)  I assume this is because of exchange rates?

Yes. The Swiss National Bank abandoned the Swiss Franc's peg to the Euro (in a surprise act), sending the franc soaring against the euro.

SwissMoustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #105 on: February 12, 2015, 11:21:52 AM »
Hi fellow swiss mustachians

Fatastic input here, keep the discussion going.
I'm another newbie who wants to start investing boglehead style soon. I've been doing a lot of research for the past few weeks and I'm tempted to give TrueWealth a try. Yes the 0.5% pa is a bit hard to swallow but it's all costs included and you get all of the diversification and rebalancing with none of the work and none of the hard decisions.

Let's do some back of the envelope math. Assume you want 5-10 positions including a few bonds, you'll easily end up paying a couple hundred swiss francs in transaction costs each year even with the cheapest broker (buying positions, selling positions for rebalancing, stock fees, stamp costs, etc). Let's say you hold 6 ETFs + a government bond that you'll buy every 3 months. You'll spend roughly a 100 bucks for each investment (ok, less with the swissquote ETF saving plan, but that seems to be somewhat inflexible). That's 400.- every year! On top of that we can add another 100.- for rebalancing, tax statements (those alone are 100.- at swissquote), etc. Plus there's the 0.1% custodial fee if you want anything that cannot be held in the ETF savings account (e.g. govt. bonds).

For 500.- at 0.5% pa you can invest roughly 100k with TrueWealth, you get a lot more diversification, less work, and more flexibiliy (e.g. monthly transactions). Granted, after 100k it gets more expensive but not crazily so IMHO. I did the math for a 10y time span investing 7.5k quarterly. Notwithstanding any yields, I ended up with total costs of 5400.- for swissquote and 7700.- for TrueWealth. The difference is 230 CHF per year which I might actually be willing to pay considering the benefits mentioned above.

...on the other hand, holy crap 7.7k just to invest my money for a couple of years. Why is everything so freaking expensive here? I really wish we had something like vanguard in Switzerland. Let's hope MoneyVane will announce something good soon.

Thoughts? Any other new ideas/findings for investing on the cheap in CH?

tensile

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 58
    • Podcast Pals
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #106 on: February 13, 2015, 04:44:47 PM »
TrueWealth is interesting. I'd like to hear more opinions on it, since I can't read the German (except via google translate, which doesn't quite cut it when choosing where to put my money!)
Find out which podcasts all the cool kids are listening to - podcasts rated and reviewed on Podcast Pals

samuck

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #107 on: February 13, 2015, 11:46:37 PM »

For 500.- at 0.5% pa you can invest roughly 100k with TrueWealth, you get a lot more diversification, less work, and more flexibiliy (e.g. monthly transactions). Granted, after 100k it gets more expensive but not crazily so IMHO. I did the math for a 10y time span investing 7.5k quarterly. Notwithstanding any yields, I ended up with total costs of 5400.- for swissquote and 7700.- for TrueWealth. The difference is 230 CHF per year which I might actually be willing to pay considering the benefits mentioned above.

...on the other hand, holy crap 7.7k just to invest my money for a couple of years. Why is everything so freaking expensive here? I really wish we had something like vanguard in Switzerland. Let's hope MoneyVane will announce something good soon.

Thoughts? Any other new ideas/findings for investing on the cheap in CH?

Personally, I'm not willing to pay 0.5% pa just so they hold my money for me. This is why I stayed with Postfinance (changing to Saxo Bank would admittedly reduce my fees somewhat). As a consequence, I'm trying to limit the number of ETFs I invest in (currently 3) and the number of investments per year (currently monthly ie. 12, and just in 1 ETF at a time, which means I pay CHF 300 plus stamp fee per year). Also like the fact that I could just leave me portfolio for some time without having to pay any extra fee on top of the TER.

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #108 on: February 14, 2015, 02:38:54 AM »
Truth is, diversification, value/small factor tilting etc are really meaningless unless you have 200k invested, but even then......
Keep it simple: buy Vanguard all-world, which includes 46 countries and 3000 stocks, and maybe a Swiss bond ETF (although since we have now negative interest I'm keeping cash at the moment instead of bond fund, to avoid transaction costs), and start to worry about other tilt (small value, etc) when you have 500k invested. You'll do fine, it will be less stressfull, and you'll keep costs low.

Don't forget that we have wealth tax, so in top of the 0.5% you get 0.15-0.3% of taxes (depending in which canton you live)..... it starts to add up.

SwissMoustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #109 on: February 14, 2015, 09:39:36 AM »
Grog and samuck, you're probably right. 0.5% pa is just too much. So after further research my current allocation plan is as follows:

Equity
1) 25% Vanguard FTSE All-World
2) 25% UBS ETF (CH) - SLI (CHF) A-dis

Bonds
3) 20% iShares Core CHF Corporate
4) 20% iShares Swiss Domestic Govt. 3-7 (or cash for now)

REIT
5) 10% UBS ETF (CH) - SXI Real Estate Funds

Here's my reasoning behind each of the above:
1) There are cheaper all world ETFs but from what I can tell those are either synthetic or don't trade in CHF which would add currency conversion spread. Of course I also thought about a hedged world ETF but according to Credit Suisse's widely cited "Global Investment Returns Yearbook 2012" it's probably not worth the costs for long term investments.
2) I'm overemphasizing the home market since I'm a bit uncomfortable with the currency risks in 1). The iShares Core SPI is much cheaper (0.1% instead 0.2%) but less diversified.
3/4) I'm probably going to need some of the money in 8-10 years so I think 40% bonds might be a good idea. Probably not govt. bonds though at the moment. I could keep the money in cash  like Grog suggests. Or buy more corporate bonds. Or buy foreign (hedged) govt. bonds. Not sure.
5) REITs for even more diversification.

What does everyone think? Does that sound reasonable?

Now I only have to decide between swissquote, saxo and postfinance. Does anybody know if the above are available in the swissquote ETF saving plan?

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #110 on: February 15, 2015, 05:27:37 AM »
It seems reasonable. If you are interested in swissquote ETF saving plan, in this post I've attached the offered ETF in an excel table:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/switzerland-how-should-i-buy-index-funds-here/msg377035/#msg377035
you could switch Vanguard All-World with UBS Msci World (traded in chf) and you have a couple of bond funds and the UBS SLI fund (I agree about diversification, 50% of SPI or 50 % SMI are only Roche, Novartis and Nestlé!).

Be careful about the UBS REIT funds: one is a ETF of real estate companies (like SwissPrime), and another is a fund od Real Estate funds, so it's different, in the second you are going through al ot of overhead from the funds and it has done quite worse that the pure real estate companies fund.
This is the companies fund:
https://www.justetf.com/ch/etf-profile.html?isin=CH0124758522&h=3&from=search&assetClass=class-realEstate
this the fund of reit funds (almost identical correlation but with worse return):
https://www.justetf.com/ch/etf-profile.html?assetClass=class-realEstate&isin=CH0105994401&from=search
I personally would avoid them in the accumulation phase but I would love to have 10% in my portfolio during retirement, since it does not correlate so strongly with our equity market. But is an ETF with low volume, high spread I wouldn't want to do that much transaction into buying them. Not in the accumulation phase.

If I were you, I would avoid Swiss and swiss corporate bond, interest are really too low. You could buy a fund of international bond emitted in CHF (yep other countries sometimes emit bond in a foreign currency):
https://www.justetf.com/ch/etf-profile.html?isin=LU0879399441&tab=chart&h=2&from=search&assetClass=class-bonds&currency=CHF

you get some more return due to the presence of AA, A and BBB graded borrower.

 

SwissMoustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #111 on: February 16, 2015, 10:51:43 AM »
Thanks Grog, again very good points. It's a shame that the ETF savings plan has only two of the ETFs I'm looking for, but it's probably still my best option. Can I buy the other ETFs at their regular price with the same account or would I have to open a separate trading account?

Strateo also looks pretty good by the way with a custodial fee of 0.02% per quarter (max CHF 25), CHF 9 for Leader ETFs and a much nicer website than swissquote ;-)
edit: CHF 9 is only for ComStage ETFs, so swissquote still wins.

The UBS Foreign AAA-BBB does indeed look like the best bond option. But even this ETF probably made most of its past returns due to ever decreasing interest rates. Since interest rates can't go much lower from where we are now, I'm not sure I want to invest in bonds at all at the moment.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 11:41:30 AM by SwissMoustache »

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #112 on: February 16, 2015, 11:36:08 PM »
If you are keeping bonds for 20+ y then it won't matter that much. Bond fund doesn't always react as bonds. But please consider the fact that bonds are not used for return, but to reduce volatility. The fact that many US citizen buy bond is because they want to avoid loss of purchasing value due to inflation if they stay with pure cash. But we here in Switzerland do not have any inflation at the moment, our consumer index is stagnant since 15 years, so for the time being you can reduce volatility with cash chf.  Put it like that: we can keep cash earning almost nothing on our saving account (you can find some deal for 0.5%-1% interest), or we could have a situation like the US where you have an inflation of 3% and bond gain have average return of 3.5-4%. The end situation is practically the same: we are reducing volatility while preserving purchasing power against inflation.

If you add the transaction costs involved in buying bonds/bonds fund in chf, you can see a good solution is to simply keep the money in cash, ready to rebalance in stocks falls a crash is coming. Since I'm using cash instead of bond, I eliminate the emergency fund since if necessary I can draw down my cash.

I've used strateo: it looks nice but I didn't like using it. And they do not sell Vanguard ETF.
For the moment I'm using CornerTrader and I'm happy with it. Starting from 75k total capital you pay only 0.12% a transaction, and no deposit account. For my 4 yearly purchase (one after every dividend) is more than enough. And differently to postfinance they directly convert the US dividend in CHF at a good rate.

Astromarine

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 55
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #113 on: February 18, 2015, 06:35:09 AM »
grog, can you talk a bit about corner trader? Last I knew, you were on Swissquote, is there a benefit to switching? Or do they do different things?

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #114 on: February 18, 2015, 08:07:56 AM »
grog, can you talk a bit about corner trader? Last I knew, you were on Swissquote, is there a benefit to switching? Or do they do different things?

I've used, in order:
a) Postfinance etrading
b) Strateo
c) Swissquote
d) Swissquote Dynamics Saving with ETF
e) CornerTrader

At the beginning I was very enthusiastic, I wanted to have an equal-weight world portfolio, then I discovered the Swissquote dynamic saving andwanted to switch...I've played around a lot ('I'm lucky that we had a bull market, always selling with a capital gain, that is not taxed here) and in the end the enthusiasm was fading and I noticed that too much trade were detrimental and it really wasn't that funny and I had better things to do with my life. So I've switch to CornerTrader in november, bought only Vanguard All-World and since then I didn't make a single trade. I'm waiting for the march dividend, plus adding my saving, to buy again.
With this strategy (4 purchase per year) all the options with a custody account fee didn't make any sense (so options b and c were out since they would require to pay a custody fee).

Strateo doesn't offer Vanguard ETF, I've asked and they told me that wasn't possible to buy them.

So it remained CornerTrader and Postfinance E-Trading as options. I've chosen the first one because:

- it costs less (20.- + swiss stamp duty tax of 0.15%) vs the (25 + 2 + tax of Postfinance)
- the price doesn't change as in postfinance, so you don't have to worry to buy always exactly 5000chf, because if not you change category of fee).
- starting from 75k it will costs even less
- they auotmatically change your dividend in chf with very good rate, unlike Postfinance

In the end it all boils down to a personal decision. Corner Trader has a pretty good tool, although to open an account you had to receive some information telefonically (like the password for first login) and there is no electronic device/ sms identification. You can login with your account number and your password. The cool thing is that you can do it everywhere, the bad thing is that is probably not so safe. Anyway the risk are minimal since transfer the money outside to another bank is not so easily done like in Swissquote. Which for me is kind of good: once inside and invested, never to be touched. there is no "temptation" to transfer it somewhere else.
If you need to access the money you can order a TraderCard and then you can take out the cash on your account at every ATM. I didn't do it for the moment.
I hope it helps if you have any questions just ask.

Lemanensis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: Western Switzerland
  • Counting Down!
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #115 on: March 08, 2015, 05:29:17 AM »
Hi. I'm a long-time MMM reader and, after thinking many times that MMM isn't always applicable here, have recently discovered this forum. Glad to see others in the same position. From what I can see, most people have a different approach from mine, so perhaps I can share, and maybe even get feedback or different views of things (always refreshing!). :-)
I consider myself to be counting down to FI - month by month!
Qualified translator German/French into English. Counting down to FI.

Lemanensis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Location: Western Switzerland
  • Counting Down!
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #116 on: March 08, 2015, 05:36:59 AM »
So, a basic run-down of my situation.
1) I've always been a 0-debt person. Having seen my parents struggle unnecessarily (my mother was a money-sink!), I was determined it would never happen to me.
2) I've always had two jobs, investing everything from the second freelance job.
3) Any debt I do have must earn me more than it costs: mortgage never repaid (investing instead earns more); maximize credit-card use, but pay off every month; collect all points available on CC; and finally use a low-cost investment loan to boost all income from investments.
4) Bond-heavy investments. While this may seem counter-intuitive, and may mean higher taxes, I have optimized as much as possible. To sum it up, it's basically the 'bird in the hand' policy.
5) All investments are buy-and-hold: I refuse to keep paying commissions. Day-trading looks crazy to me.
Qualified translator German/French into English. Counting down to FI.

swisstash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #117 on: March 08, 2015, 01:51:01 PM »
Cool to see that this thread has legs! I originally wondered if I was the only reader in Switzerland :).

Just wanted to report that the solution I ended up being happy with is to use Swissquote to buy a two-fund portfolio of VWRL and IEAG  on the Euronext exchange in my taxable accounts.

tensile

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 58
    • Podcast Pals
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #118 on: March 08, 2015, 03:09:36 PM »
I'm still here! I think one of the problems is that if you only buy index funds every month there isn't a lot to talk about :)

Although I have to say I recently started selling some stuff. I know market timing is bad etc but I feel the market is high and I'll buy back when it dips...
Find out which podcasts all the cool kids are listening to - podcasts rated and reviewed on Podcast Pals

dmn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #119 on: March 09, 2015, 04:14:39 AM »
I'm still here! I think one of the problems is that if you only buy index funds every month there isn't a lot to talk about :)

Although I have to say I recently started selling some stuff. I know market timing is bad etc but I feel the market is high and I'll buy back when it dips...

What do you do with the money in the meantime? Will you let it sit around for a few years if the stock market does not crash soon, earning no interest? Overvaluations can go on for a very long time, and central banks may be forced to keep interest rates near zero for many more years to come.

SwissMoustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #120 on: March 09, 2015, 06:46:05 AM »
By the way, last year Postfinance announced a strategic partnership with Swissquote starting Q4 2015. Does anybody know more about this? Maybe they will combine the 0% Postfinance custody fees with the 9 CHF Swissquote ETF rates. One can still dream, right ;-)
But seriously, from what I've read Postfinance is taking this step because their own trading platform hasn't been a big success so far. There will be a complete overhaul and I guess the result will be more attractive than what they offer at the moment. Otherwise there wouldn't be a point.

tensile

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 58
    • Podcast Pals
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #121 on: March 10, 2015, 03:11:31 PM »
What do you do with the money in the meantime? Will you let it sit around for a few years if the stock market does not crash soon, earning no interest? Overvaluations can go on for a very long time, and central banks may be forced to keep interest rates near zero for many more years to come.

Well I want to buy some property back home and it's hard to get the mortgage because I live here and I'm self-employed so maybe I'd save with a view to paying cash (annoying) or maybe use the money towards some side hustles I've started. Or just wait. I dunno. Are you buying at present valuations?
Find out which podcasts all the cool kids are listening to - podcasts rated and reviewed on Podcast Pals

dmn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #122 on: March 10, 2015, 04:26:13 PM »
Are you buying at present valuations?

Yes, because in my opinion an earnings yield of 5% (i.e. P/E around 20) beats an interest rate of 0% easily. I understand that stock valuations will go down when interest rates rise again, and then the prices of my stocks will decline. However, that could still be 10 years or more out in the future (see Japan for an example of decades of zero interest). In that case, the currently available 5% earnings yield will be fabulous, and will earn me more than I will lose later when valuations go back to historic levels.

On the other hand, if interest rates should rise very soon and stock valuations contract, my net worth takes a hit in the near future. However, in that case I can invest future paychecks at higher yields, so I will be fine anyway.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2015, 04:29:43 PM by dmn »

Okanager

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #123 on: July 18, 2015, 04:13:30 PM »
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.

Questions:

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%):
  • VUSA
  • VEUR
  • VAPX
  • VJPN

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.


Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #124 on: July 19, 2015, 04:13:31 AM »
1) Yes, only swiss ones. It effectively alleviates the delayed reinvestment concern.
For ETF quoted on the Swiss Exchange, this tool can be most useful when declaring taxes:
https://www.ictax.admin.ch/extern/de.html

It tells you exactly how much of your distributing (or accumulating) fund has gained as taxable income and how much was subjected to the withholding tax.

2) Now it exist a Retrozessions-frei Swisscanto with a TER of only 0.30%. You can buy it via Kantonal Bank Luzern which has a depot annual fee of 0.22% and a purchase fee of the shares of 1%. If you do the math, it's the cheapest options. 1% to buy (so since is capped at 6500 chf per year it is "only" 65 chf) plus 0.52% of global annaual TER, which is the cheapest possible in Switzerland for 3a pillar

I'm curious to about the future switch of Postfinance, I use Cornertrade because it is cheaper then Postfinance and has a great currency exchange for dividend that appear directly as swiss francs and with an almost markt-like exchange. Postfinance is horrible in comparison the exchange rate are always the worst.

raxx

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #125 on: July 24, 2015, 09:28:32 AM »
Hello Swisstaches! I am new here, just moved back from the UK a couple of months ago and looking to restart my index fund investments. In the UK, i invested in index mutual funds, very low TERs, no transaction costs. Now I am trying to replicate the model here to no avail. Thank you to you all for this thread, and for giving me some very good ideas how to start.

Everything you all have discussed is straightforward, and I would have no problem implementing straightaway, but i have one major humungous roadblock. I work for "the largest bank in switzerland" and due to compliance/policy issues, I am not permitted to hold any trading accounts with any other entity. *BAM!!*

In return, i get a 50% discount on the safekeeping price, and 100% discount on the safekeeping of instruments issued by my bank.

The bank does offer a couple of attractive ETFs, so I could be persuaded. My main gripe is the transaction costs!! I currently invest in 3 indices monthly, i.e. 3 trades per month. Trading cost is CHF20 per order!!! CHF 30 for non-Swiss exchanges!!! That would cost me CHF60 monthly! OK - i could do one per month and rotate, but still....CHF20 a month to execute a transaction of say CHF1000-1500 is highway robbery.

So.... I would like to see if you guys might have any ideas. My only other option would be to open a fund-only account with another provider. I´m allowed that - i just cannot have an account which has capability to trade other instruments apart from funds. So far, i have not found such an account. Many providers offer "fund accounts" but this is only to invest into their set list of funds.

And no, leaving my job is not an option.

Thanks to all of you in advance!

samuck

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #126 on: July 24, 2015, 11:03:44 AM »
Hi raxx, have you looked into Swissquote or Saxo Bank? Swissquote is with somewhere around chf 10 per etf transaction much better. Otherwise, many providers are actually above the cost of chf 20 you mention... For Switzerland, chf 20 is actually not all that bad, so you might want go go with your employer but fewer transactions.

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #127 on: July 26, 2015, 02:38:26 AM »
Hello Swisstaches! I am new here, just moved back from the UK a couple of months ago and looking to restart my index fund investments. In the UK, i invested in index mutual funds, very low TERs, no transaction costs. Now I am trying to replicate the model here to no avail. Thank you to you all for this thread, and for giving me some very good ideas how to start.

Everything you all have discussed is straightforward, and I would have no problem implementing straightaway, but i have one major humungous roadblock. I work for "the largest bank in switzerland" and due to compliance/policy issues, I am not permitted to hold any trading accounts with any other entity. *BAM!!*

In return, i get a 50% discount on the safekeeping price, and 100% discount on the safekeeping of instruments issued by my bank.

The bank does offer a couple of attractive ETFs, so I could be persuaded. My main gripe is the transaction costs!! I currently invest in 3 indices monthly, i.e. 3 trades per month. Trading cost is CHF20 per order!!! CHF 30 for non-Swiss exchanges!!! That would cost me CHF60 monthly! OK - i could do one per month and rotate, but still....CHF20 a month to execute a transaction of say CHF1000-1500 is highway robbery.

So.... I would like to see if you guys might have any ideas. My only other option would be to open a fund-only account with another provider. I´m allowed that - i just cannot have an account which has capability to trade other instruments apart from funds. So far, i have not found such an account. Many providers offer "fund accounts" but this is only to invest into their set list of funds.

And no, leaving my job is not an option.

Thanks to all of you in advance!

Ohy! If I were you, I would invest in the Postfinance SPI funds (0.5% buying if you are over 25'000chf in you post accounts using their depot for funds (not postfinance etrading), then every six month you could sell (no fee by selling) and you buy cheaper ETF with your bank.

Or you just buy every 6 months, like I do :)

raxx

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #128 on: July 26, 2015, 01:52:54 PM »
Thanks Samuck - Swissquote and Saxobank are trading accounts, so are a no go.

Brilliant idea, Grog! That Postfinance fund account is exactly what i need! Thanks!

Ralph

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #129 on: July 30, 2015, 04:53:53 AM »
Hey guys,
I use PostFinance, because they don't charge account fees as Swissquote does. On the other hand, their transaction fees are a bit higher.
But independent of the broker you use: the strong (overvalued) Swiss Franc gives us great investment opportunities in foreign stocks (which are almost all stocks, anywhere, from our point of view :)).
Best, Ralph

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #130 on: July 30, 2015, 05:24:40 AM »
Thanks Samuck - Swissquote and Saxobank are trading accounts, so are a no go.

Brilliant idea, Grog! That Postfinance fund account is exactly what i need! Thanks!

Still, the SPI funds of postfinance (or the global one) have an high TER (0.59% for SPI, 0.79% for global) so do the math. Maybe it costs you less to just wait and lose the opportunity gain in those 6 months between payment

Shef

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #131 on: August 01, 2015, 04:22:58 PM »
If you need to access the money you can order a TraderCard and then you can take out the cash on your account at every ATM. I didn't do it for the moment.

what are the fees for the TraderCard? I'm specially interested in the Processing surcharge for foreign currencies and the ATM fees.  On their website, I just found the annual fee of CHF 40 but not the rest. Doesn't seem to be much transparent either...

Grog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 258
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #132 on: August 01, 2015, 11:34:22 PM »
I don't use the traderscard, no need to take out money I'm investing.

Fee structure is actually quite simple: to buy ETF at the Swiss exchange it costs you 20 chf +0.15% federal tax (up to 10'000 chf) after that is 0.2%+0.15%=0.35%.

You don't have any kind of deposit fee (differently from SQ), you have access to numerous ETF both listed in Switzerland and elsewhere and you receive your dividend directly exchanged in CHF with a very very good exchange (which is practical for me since I've a one-fund portfolio consisting in Vanguard All-world).

Other than that, you could experiment with leverage by buying CFD (contract for difference) of Total world ETF and kind of create a variable leverage, margin interest is around 3.5%. But I'm still waiting for a larger drop to use leverage, and it will be very little (like1.2-1.5x)

So it is true, it costs you 8.15 chf more than Swissquote per transaction, but you have no deposit fee, and it costs you less then Postfinance (7 chf less for transaction up to 5000 chf, + much better currency exchange then Postfinance).

But the interface is thought for active daytrader and is really not that simple for buy and hold investors. If you really want cheap, simple and easy, go for a Dynamic SQ banking account, but accept the reduced number of ETF at disposition. I'm not there only because they don't offer a really global ETF or an emerging markets ETF. If they had the ishares ACWI or an emerging markets ETF I would invest only in SQ dynamic savings account.

tensile

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 58
    • Podcast Pals
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #133 on: August 02, 2015, 10:19:29 AM »
Hello Swisstaches! I am new here, just moved back from the UK a couple of months ago and looking to restart my index fund investments. In the UK, i invested in index mutual funds, very low TERs, no transaction costs. Now I am trying to replicate the model here to no avail. Thank you to you all for this thread, and for giving me some very good ideas how to start.

raxx, are you allowed to keep trading on your UK platform? I don't see how your employer could possibly stop you. You can (surely?) invest in Swiss ETFs via whatever platform you use there. Just a thought!
Find out which podcasts all the cool kids are listening to - podcasts rated and reviewed on Podcast Pals

raxx

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #134 on: August 02, 2015, 11:35:42 AM »
Unfortunately not, Tensile. I had to close my UK trading account and move all my assets to employer. Crazy, I know. If only I could keep UK account, I wouldn't even bother with ETFs. There are many cheap index mutual funds in the UK :)

lukipuki

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #135 on: November 09, 2015, 03:54:05 AM »
Thanks a lot for the great information in this thread!

I'm going to move to Switzerland soon and I'm actually selling my current portfolio in order to optimize my taxes. Time for a rebuild!

I'm very curious about the absence of withholding tax on Ireland/Luxembourg domiciled ETFs. Can someone point me to an official document confirming that? I want to make sure before making any rash decisions. The thing is, justetf.com indicates that Vanguard doesn't report to Swiss tax authorities: https://www.justetf.com/ch-en/etf-profile.html?isin=IE00B3RBWM25&tab=details&h=2&region=World&ic=iShares&from=search&assetClass=class-equity

However, ComStage does (ESTV reporting): https://www.justetf.com/ch-en/etf-profile.html?isin=LU0488317024&tab=details&h=2&ic=Comstage&from=search&assetClass=class-equity

db x-trackers too: https://www.justetf.com/ch-en/etf-profile.html?ic=Comstage&ic=db+X-trackers&sortField=ter&groupField=none&sortOrder=asc&from=search&isin=IE00BJ0KDR00&assetClass=class-equity&tab=details

So the lack of taxes on Vanguard funds might be just an underreporting issue which sounds to me like a tax fraud :/ Does anyone own ComStage, db X-trackers or iShares fund domiciled in Ireland/Luxembourg? Do you pay taxes on those?

lukipuki

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #136 on: November 10, 2015, 01:55:17 AM »
Oh, and the Bogleheads wiki claims that accumulating ETFs are still taxed in Switzerland: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/EU_investing#cite_note-1

dmn

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Switzerland
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #137 on: November 10, 2015, 02:58:56 AM »
If you have an accumulating ETF that does not pay the 35% Verrechnungssteuer, you still have to declare the ETF's reinvested dividends in the tax declaration. The only benefit is that you pay the taxes later, when the tax authorities send you a bill, so that the money remains invested for longer.

You can find the correct taxable gains for ETFs and stocks on the Swiss government's website https://www.ictax.admin.ch/extern/de.html. I usually check whether an ETF is listed on that website before buying it.

lukipuki

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #138 on: November 10, 2015, 05:28:43 AM »
If you have an accumulating ETF that does not pay the 35% Verrechnungssteuer, you still have to declare the ETF's reinvested dividends in the tax declaration. The only benefit is that you pay the taxes later, when the tax authorities send you a bill, so that the money remains invested for longer.

You can find the correct taxable gains for ETFs and stocks on the Swiss government's website https://www.ictax.admin.ch/extern/de.html. I usually check whether an ETF is listed on that website before buying it.

Thanks!

This is a good article http://geldberg.com/etf-steuern/ if anyone is interested in knowing more about ETF taxes.

Dago

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #139 on: December 08, 2015, 01:58:00 PM »
Hello everyone,

I am happy to meet Swiss fellows on this forum !
I discovered mmm blog quite recently and am reading through it from start to end.

This swiss thread is very interesting and I was wondering if you could help me sort out how to invest my money.

Being eco-conscious I have actually been applying most of the frugality principles in my 10 years of work. As a consequence (not the aim) I have set aside some money. After learning hard lessons by 1. letting others manage my money (AWD argh) and 2. trying to outsmart the market, I would now like to invest in index based funds that would ultimately make me financially independent.

Let me just say a word about my financial situation :
- half a flat in Geneva bought 1150000, 20% paid. 35000 of mortgage at 2% for 10 years with 1% amortization, 100000 at 1.2% ending next year
- 80000.- randomly thrown in various stocks and bonds, mostly swiss
- 50000.- cash
- 65000.- available, were invested by AWD in various funds
- 3 Piliers 3b, life insurance
To be noted that I don't pay taxes on my main revenue as I work for an international organization.
My aim is not to retire super fast, just to know that I am safe and I can continue to do what I want of my life.

I had in mind to progressively invest the 65000 + a part of my cash + the 80000 in index funds :
ETF%
iShares SMI (CH)10.0%
iShares SMIM (CH)15.0%
iShares Core CHF Corporate Bond (CH)20.0%
iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF10.0%
iShares Swiss Domestic Government Bond 7-15 (CH)25.0%
Amundi ETF MSCI EMU High Dividend UCITS ETF15.0%
iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF7.5%
iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF7.5%
I want to have little risk and to be diversified. This being said, I realize that there are overlap between these ETFs and that it is maybe a too wide range. I would be very interested to hear your advises or remarks on this subject.

Moreover, how fast do you think that I should invest ? I don't want to throw 100k and the next day the market collapse. I did it in 2007, I learned my lesson. Still, I don't want to wait 10 years to invest all this money. By the way, I can set aside 3000-5000 per month in addition.

Last question : should I reimburse part of my mortgage ?

Thank you in advance !
Dago

lukipuki

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #140 on: December 08, 2015, 03:13:51 PM »
I'm going to sell my old complicated portfolio (for tax optimization) and simply buy these 3 funds for the stocks part of my portfolio:
75% of iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF 0.2% TER
13% of iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF 0.25% TER
12% of SPDR MSCI World Small Cap UCITS ETF (IE) 0.45% TER

My goal is to recreate the MSCI ACWI IMI index which covers developed and emerging markets from large to small cap, so about 99% of the global stock market. There is one fund that tracks MSCI ACWI IMI, but it's TER is 0.4% and the above mixture is around .23%.

When it comes to bonds, I haven't made my mind yet. They are more complicated to invest in and the available ETFs in Europe are not that great. I might buy the US-domiciled Vanguard Total Bond Market and add in some domiciled in Europe.

Stashing Swiss-style

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 284
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #141 on: December 09, 2015, 03:52:07 AM »
Welcome Dago!  You're in a great position already (damn, why was I not so wise at your age!!!).  I'm still hopelessly flopping between building up some solid savings in cash and investing in index funds.   We have plenty of equity in our house and a good pension scheme but a very crap savings ratio and certainly not much buffer if either of us lost our jobs (also non-tax paying).  I will follow your actions with interest and copy shamelessly I think!!  I'm interested to see how things work for another non-taxpayer.  I was surprised to see you have a 3eme Pilier as we looked at this but found the lack of tax benefits (can't offset against tax if you don't pay any....) made it very uninteresting.

So can you tell me a bit about iShares and how that works etc? 

Dago

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #142 on: December 09, 2015, 05:51:25 AM »
Hello,

@lukipuki
Thank you for sharing your future portfolio, it is always valuable to see what others are doing.

@Stashing Swiss-style
My wife has a taxable income, therefore the 3rd pillar has still a small advantage. The other reasons are that I am not sure if I will always be working in international organizations and that I wanted a life insurance for my family. I might not make the same choice today, but I am ok with it.

iShares are "a family of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) managed by BlackRock". I did not choose them because of the brand, but I happened to choose funds that it provides. To choose funds, I went to justetf.com and played around for some time.
Not sure what is the exact scope of your question, but if you also wonder how to buy index fund you should see for example with Swissquote. I have a trade account and just opened a saving account (the one described earlier in this thread).

Let's see what others have to say about my portfolio and I will share any ways the final choice.

Dago

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #143 on: December 11, 2015, 06:11:35 AM »
Nobody else has something to say about my portfolio proposal ?
@Grog ? :)


Micks

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Location: the Netherlands
    • TrackerBelegger
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #144 on: December 13, 2015, 06:52:21 AM »
ETF%
iShares SMI (CH)10.0%
iShares SMIM (CH)15.0%
iShares Core CHF Corporate Bond (CH)20.0%
iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF10.0%
iShares Swiss Domestic Government Bond 7-15 (CH)25.0%
Amundi ETF MSCI EMU High Dividend UCITS ETF15.0%
iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF7.5%
iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF7.5%
I want to have little risk and to be diversified. This being said, I realize that there are overlap between these ETFs and that it is maybe a too wide range. I would be very interested to hear your advises or remarks on this subject.

I think you are on the right path and that it is a good thing to have learned those valuable lessons in market timing and experiencing a full-on market crash relatively soon in your investment career.

As you ask for some thoughts, I do not mind to share a few. Personally, I would prefer a simple worldwide market weighted portfolio for equities like the one lukipuki mentions or the Vanguard All-World ETF held by Grog.

The percentages do not add up to 100% in your post and you have the iShares MSCI World ETF in there twice, so I am not sure on your precise allocations. On the stock portion of your portfolio, you say you have 25% in Swiss companies by holding SMI and SMIM. That is a pretty heavy allocation to your home country (and a heavy weighting to the probably riskier smaller companies in the country) as the Swiss equity market is a little under 3% of the weighting in the FTSE Global All-Cap index. With SMI having +-60% in Nestle, Novartis and Roche, it is not a very diversified option too. The Amundi ETF does not physically obtain the shares but replicates its index synthetically, which is more complex and possibly more risky. If you want to hold synthetic funds, read up on things like the type of swaps used and the collateral held. Personally, I think physically replicating funds are a better option for the majority of personal investors.

I think that a good amount of bonds/fixed income is wise too smoothen the ride. Your previous experience in '08-09 would be helpful in determining that amount for you. Do realize that corporate bonds behave more equity-like and reduce the diversification benefit that high quality short-term government bonds do have. Still, I would prefer to hold short term government bonds because I want fixed income purely as short term downside protection. You might have a different objective for your bonds. Reaching for yield should not be one of them in my opinion (which I think that buying high dividend yield funds is an example of as well). The yield is part of the total return and that is where my focus would be. Holding bonds in your home currency is a good thing in my opinion, as it eliminates currency risk (which is quite big for bonds on the short term).

As the stock market is on average trending up, throwing it all in at once would have the highest chance of success. But that also increases the risk that you have your timing wrong, like you already experienced. I think averaging in is a good solution, which is mostly advised to be done in a maximum of one year. If you choose your portfolio in the way that it suits your willingness, ability and need to take risk you should not have to worry much about what happens in the short term. You will encounter market crashes in your investing career so you should be prepared for that. Of course the money you already have invested can just be transferred to the index funds of your choice, you already are taking risk and want to be. Does not make much sense to me to first sell out of the market and then gradually buy back in.

Good job on converting your existing shares/bonds to index funds and for viewing all your assets as part of one big portfolio. Best of luck.

lukipuki

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #145 on: December 13, 2015, 07:24:38 AM »
As you ask for some thoughts, I do not mind to share a few. Personally, I would prefer a simple worldwide market weighted portfolio for equities like the one lukipuki mentions or the Vanguard All-World ETF held by Grog.

The percentages do not add up to 100% in your post and you have the iShares MSCI World ETF in there twice, so I am not sure on your precise allocations. On the stock portion of your portfolio, you say you have 25% in Swiss companies by holding SMI and SMIM. That is a pretty heavy allocation to your home country (and a heavy weighting to the probably riskier smaller companies in the country) as the Swiss equity market is a little under 3% of the weighting in the FTSE Global All-Cap index. With SMI having +-60% in Nestle, Novartis and Roche, it is not a very diversified option too. The Amundi ETF does not physically obtain the shares but replicates its index synthetically, which is more complex and possibly more risky. If you want to hold synthetic funds, read up on things like the type of swaps used and the collateral held. Personally, I think physically replicating funds are a better option for the majority of personal investors.

I think that a good amount of bonds/fixed income is wise too smoothen the ride. Your previous experience in '08-09 would be helpful in determining that amount for you. Do realize that corporate bonds behave more equity-like and reduce the diversification benefit that high quality short-term government bonds do have. Still, I would prefer to hold short term government bonds because I want fixed income purely as short term downside protection. You might have a different objective for your bonds. Reaching for yield should not be one of them in my opinion (which I think that buying high dividend yield funds is an example of as well). The yield is part of the total return and that is where my focus would be. Holding bonds in your home currency is a good thing in my opinion, as it eliminates currency risk (which is quite big for bonds on the short term).

As the stock market is on average trending up, throwing it all in at once would have the highest chance of success. But that also increases the risk that you have your timing wrong, like you already experienced. I think averaging in is a good solution, which is mostly advised to be done in a maximum of one year. If you choose your portfolio in the way that it suits your willingness, ability and need to take risk you should not have to worry much about what happens in the short term. You will encounter market crashes in your investing career so you should be prepared for that. Of course the money you already have invested can just be transferred to the index funds of your choice, you already are taking risk and want to be. Does not make much sense to me to first sell out of the market and then gradually buy back in.

Good job on converting your existing shares/bonds to index funds and for viewing all your assets as part of one big portfolio. Best of luck.

+1 on everything Micks says, in particular the worldwide diversification and holding government bonds.

Bonds are complicated to invest in. Some good information is on the Bogleheads wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bond_basics
Unfortunately the ETF offering is not that great in Europe, so I'm leaning towards owning "Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund ETF", even though it comes tax complications later.

Dago

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #146 on: December 13, 2015, 01:28:20 PM »
Hello,

Thank you very much. Here is what I get from your post :

1. Extraneous line "iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF 10%"
-> removed

2. Lack of diversification in the stock portion of the portfolio because of SMI and SMIM.
-> SMIM is more diversified than SMI
-> Holding foreign currencies is a problem for a Swiss. If the Swiss franc stays strong or get stronger it would be a problem to have foreign currencies. If it gets weaker, well, it does not change anything for me as I pay in Swiss francs for my living. Is hedging a solution to my fear of conversion rate risks ?

3. Amundi synthetic replica of index
-> I was not aware of this. I need to read more on the subject. I think that I will follow your advise and stick with physical replicas. The aim of this fund is to have some european equities in euro.
-> Maybe use buy "iShares STOXX Europe 600 UCITS ETF (DE)" ?

4. Bonds ratio
-> the more I think about it, the more I feel that I should shift a bit the ratio toward stocks. I think that I might move 5% in favor of international stocks reaching 60% stocks 40% bonds.

5. Corporate bonds behave more equity-like
-> true, I just saw the very good results of this fund and thought that it was safer than stocks :)
-> I will read a bit more about it and perhaps shift a few percents from corporate bonds to other assets (see point 4.)

6. I will invest the cash over a year, and all the already invested money at once.

New portfolio :
iShares SMI (CH)10%
iShares SMIM (CH)15%
iShares Core CHF Corporate Bond (CH)15% (-5%)
iShares Swiss Domestic Government Bond 7-15 (CH)25%
iShares STOXX Europe 600 UCITS ETF (DE)15%
iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF10% (+2.5%)
iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF10% (+2.5%)

tj

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1001
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Southern California
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #147 on: December 13, 2015, 02:48:00 PM »
Quote
-> Holding foreign currencies is a problem for a Swiss. If the Swiss franc stays strong or get stronger it would be a problem to have foreign currencies. If it gets weaker, well, it does not change anything for me as I pay in Swiss francs for my living. Is hedging a solution to my fear of conversion rate risks ?

Do you have any international hedged funds available? That you could diversify globally across foreign companies, but you would minimize the effect of the currency fluctuations....

Micks

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Location: the Netherlands
    • TrackerBelegger
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #148 on: December 13, 2015, 03:44:50 PM »
New portfolio :
iShares SMI (CH)10%
iShares SMIM (CH)15%
iShares Core CHF Corporate Bond (CH)15% (-5%)
iShares Swiss Domestic Government Bond 7-15 (CH)25%
iShares STOXX Europe 600 UCITS ETF (DE)15%
iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF10% (+2.5%)
iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF10% (+2.5%)

Thanks for clarifying and already some good changes in your portfolio. I put the equity funds in the morningstar instant x-ray to see how diversified you are geographically. With your allocation you have about 40% of your equities in the Swiss stock market, I still think that is a very heavy overweighting of your home country (which is approximately 3% of world market cap). Overall, you have 70% in Europe as a whole and almost 30% in the US, leaving a tiny percentage to Asia. This could be what you are aiming at, but I would prefer that my results were not that depending on my home country's stock market.

2. Lack of diversification in the stock portion of the portfolio because of SMI and SMIM.
-> SMIM is more diversified than SMI
-> Holding foreign currencies is a problem for a Swiss. If the Swiss franc stays strong or get stronger it would be a problem to have foreign currencies. If it gets weaker, well, it does not change anything for me as I pay in Swiss francs for my living. Is hedging a solution to my fear of conversion rate risks ?

Hedging could indeed be an idea to reduce/eliminate currency risk in equities. Hedging does have its costs, as it increases the management needed and adds transaction costs for the hedge. Over long periods of time the assumption is that currency hedged and unhedged returns would be the same as the major currencies converge to purchasing power parity, so you would not get better returns in the long run by hedging. If you are not investing for the long run, I think you are holding too much risky assets with 60% in stocks.

In the short run however, I very much see your point (although a hedge could also increase volatility of returns). Due to globalization the major currencies correlate heavier and companies have less straight forward currency exposure as they used to. The hedging benefits have decreased quite heavily. The global investment returns yearbook of 2012 by Credit Suisse calculates the risk reduction in hedging global stocks as about 20%. If that is a reduction worth the costs of hedging or increasing home bias, that is up to you. I view stocks as risky on the short run and do not think I can avoid the volatility of stocks enough other than by adding fixed income.

Fund managers cannot predict future market movements, so do not expect that they can hedge 100% of the currency risk effectively.

I think you would have some good options if you do want to hedge the currency risk (the iShares MSCI world ETF also has a version hedged to CHF I believe). Would be preferable over a heavy allocation to your home country in my opinion.

3. Amundi synthetic replica of index
-> I was not aware of this. I need to read more on the subject. I think that I will follow your advise and stick with physical replicas. The aim of this fund is to have some european equities in euro.
-> Maybe use buy "iShares STOXX Europe 600 UCITS ETF (DE)" ?

Yes, that is a better option for market weighted European equities. It has about 30% in the UK and 15% in Switzerland, so it is not just Eurozone equities. Would suggest to figure out first if you want to hedge currency risk though.

5. Corporate bonds behave more equity-like
-> true, I just saw the very good results of this fund and thought that it was safer than stocks :)
-> I will read a bit more about it and perhaps shift a few percents from corporate bonds to other assets (see point 4.)

With bonds, there are two main risks impacting the returns: credit risk and interest rate risk. Both risks are not very well rewarded if you increase them, so if your objective is to reduce the impact of equities in the short run you would be best off with short term (+-3yr duration) high quality (rating of AA and higher) bonds. Corporate bonds are indeed most often safer than stocks of the respective companies, as stock holders are usually last in line in receiving money if a company is liquidated. The increased credit risk makes them more behaving like equities and thereby less of a downside protection for equities. You can assess the interest rate risk by looking at a fund's duration. As a rule of thumb, a fund with a duration of 1 year will fall in value with 1% if interest rates rise with 1%, similarly a fund with a duratioon of ten years may fall 10% if interest rates rise 1%.

These just being some added thoughts, be sure to do your own research. Hope this helps you somewhat.

Dago

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Switzerland: How should I buy index funds here?
« Reply #149 on: December 16, 2015, 01:07:39 PM »
Thank you so much for your help and the time you gave me. Following all this information and a lot of reading I decided to go for the following portfolio :

UBS ETF (CH) - SMI (CHF) (CHF) A-dis7.5%
UBS ETF (CH) - SMIM (CHF) (CHF) A-dis12.5%
iShares Core CHF Corporate Bond (CH)15.0%
iShares Swiss Domestic Government Bond 7-15 (CH)30.0%
iShares MSCI World CHF Hedged UCITS ETF27.50%
iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF7.50%

I have 55% stocks and 45% bonds, all in chf.
I have decreased the amount of swiss stocks to 20%.
The international stocks are hedged apart from the emerging market etf. The cost of the hedging is 0.55 TER and it will make me feel more relaxed.
I have changed from iShares to UBS for the Swiss stocks because they cost less.

Any ways, I can change the portfolio allocation in the future if conditions or my mind change.

By the way the Swissquote saving account has actually a limited number of ETFs available. Most of the ones I wanted were not included. Therefore I will be using a standard Swissquote trading account.

Thank you again for your help,
Barth