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Healthcare and pensionsPensionsPillar 3b
Pillar 3b

Pillar 3b– unrestricted pension plan

Pillar 3b is a type of private pension and together with pillar 3a forms the third pillar of the Swiss pension system. This system is divided into three pillars::

  • Pillar 1: the state pension (OASI – AHV/ARS)
  • Pillar 2: the occupational pension (pension schemes subject to the Federal Act on Occupational Old Age, Survivors' and Disability Pension Provision (BVG/LPP))
  • Pillar 3: the private pension, comprising pillar 3a and pillar 3b
The pension system

Unlike pillar 3a (restricted pension plan), pillar 3b is an unrestricted plan. In other words, pillar 3b is not bound by factors such as retirement age or investment rules but can be used entirely as you wish.


  • This plan is not subject to the strict legal requirements of pillar 3a.
  • Anyone can save as much as they like in a pillar 3b account. Pillar 3b savers have much greater flexibility when it comes to choosing their investment strategy.
  • The capital accumulated in pillar 3b can be accessed at any time. You can also close accounts with fixed terms any time, although depending on the type of contract you may lose a lot of money.
  • The capital can be inherited by any beneficiary, although statutory entitlements must be taken into account.

Payments into pillar 3b products are very rarely tax-deductible.

  • Savings or personal account
  • Bonds
  • Shares
  • Investment funds
  • Insurance policies

Pillar 3b investments can include money that has been saved and already taxed, property or even classic cars. They can also take the form of life insurance policies. These policies protect you from financial risks caused by death and incapacity for work due to illness or accident. Life insurance provides extra protection for you and your family.

Strictly speaking, there are no direct tax advantages like those available on pillar 3a products. There is, however, one exception:

With endowment policies that can be surrendered, although the surrender value is taxed as wealth during the term, any investment income yielded during the term is tax-free. However, this does not apply to single premium policies. These are taxable in the case of survival or surrender.

Pillar 3b offers much less investor protection than the other pension pillars. This makes it more flexible in terms of investment options but more susceptible to poor decision-making. Be wary if:

  • You are promised products offering higher than average returns.
  • You are offered products that you don't understand.
  • You are offered products from companies you have never heard of.

You should even be careful if your personal banker or insurance agent presents you with an offer that is hard to understand. Bank and insurance employees also have to act in the interests of their employer. In addition to consulting with your banker or insurance agent, you can also seek independent advice.

Who offers pillar 3b?

You can take out a private pension in pillar 3b with a bank or insurance company. If you choose an insurance product, you will benefit from extra protection in the event of death or disability.
It's not easy to find a pension solution that is tailored to your personal needs. There is an extensive range of pillar 3b products on offer. Choose investment products that are appropriate for your situation in life. How old are you? How are your finances? Are you fit and healthy? These may be small details, but they can be key to helping you choose the right product. This is why you are advised to consult an expert.
There are different ways to pay in the contributions: would you like to make regular (e.g. monthly) fixed payments? Or have you inherited some money and would like to make a lump-sum investment?
Your willingness to take risks also plays a role. Are you interested in a low-risk investment that may yield lower returns? Or do you prefer a higher-risk investment with the chance of greater returns? Remember, however, that your willingness to take risks should not outweigh your ability to take risks. If you make an investment that in the worst-case scenario could significantly reduce your standard of living, you have misjudged your ability to take risks.

Pension tips for every life situation

Whatever your situation in life, there are different aspects to consider if you want to live the life of your choice in old age. You can find the most important here:


Tips for young people

Who knows what the future will bring? Flexibility and independence are important to young people. Nevertheless, it makes financial sense to start saving for a pension early on. Find out why here.

Tips for young people

Travel without regret

More and more people nowadays are fulfilling the dream of taking a longer time-out, often to travel, even around the world. Find out here how this might affect your pension.

Tips for globetrotters

In your mid-life years

What you decide now will shape your financial future. When it comes to pensions, you need discipline and patience. We explain how to find the right strategy for you and your goals.

Tips for adults

Pensions for people with families

Being responsible for a family raises specific questions with regard to pensions. Find out here which solutions are available that fit your needs.

Tips for families

Your own home thanks to pension savings

The capital you accumulate by means of pension savings can help you realize the dream of owning a home. Find out here what to watch out for.

Tips for financing a home purchase

Self-employed and self-responsible

Entrepreneurial freedom brings with it extra responsibility for many things. If you want to save for retirement, you need greater discipline and more expertise. Here are some valuable tips.

Tips for self-employed people

How to prepare properly for retirement

When you retire, your financial situation will change significantly. The decisions you make now will determine your standard of living in retirement. We explain what matters.

Tips for retirees

Retirement: decision time

The time has nearly come for you to retire. Now you need to decide whether to withdraw your capital in one go or draw a monthly pension. We explain how to make the right choice.

Pension or lump sum?

The subject of pensions is complex. There is often not enough time to research everything in detail. If you wish, you can seek advice from our partner service Optimatis. Our experts have the information that you may spend a long time searching for. Benefit from their expertise by arranging a no-obligation consultation.

The independent partner service Optimatis and its qualified staff will work with you to establish a clear overview and produce a snapshot of your current situation. Optimatis can offer you the solution that best fits your needs from the wide range available on the market – a good reason to seek advice from an independent expert.

You just need to request an appointment and a specialist advisor will be in touch with you. During the meeting, you can decide how and whether you wish to proceed with the solutions proposed.

Have you started to save privately for retirement?

The earlier the better.
Request no-obligation advice

Pillar 3a: comparison of current interest rates

Tax calculator for the pillar 3a

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