Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Property Sector Financialization: The Case of Swiss Pension Funds (1992–2005)

Theurillat, Thierry ; Corpataux, José ; Crevoisier, Olivier

In: European Planning Studies, 2010, vol. 18, no. 2, p. 189-212

Financialization is a major trend in Western economies. This paper shows, on the one hand, how it changes the management criteria and, on the other hand, the limits to financialization in the property sector. Between 1992 and 2004, about 15% of Swiss pension funds' wealth was invested in property. As far as their investment policy is concerned, pension funds have two choices. First, they can... Plus

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    Summary
    Financialization is a major trend in Western economies. This paper shows, on the one hand, how it changes the management criteria and, on the other hand, the limits to financialization in the property sector. Between 1992 and 2004, about 15% of Swiss pension funds' wealth was invested in property. As far as their investment policy is concerned, pension funds have two choices. First, they can directly own, and have management responsibility for, the properties in their portfolios. Alternatively, they can buy shares in mainly Zurich-based investment vehicles. In the first case, pension funds require staff with the relevant expertise along with the knowledge of property markets. Investments have a regional focus and are assessed internally by the funds. In the second case, pension funds are merely investors and investment appraisals and comparisons are made on the basis of market criteria such as yield, diversification in relation to risk and liquidity. In this case, property investments focus solely on the country's main urban areas.