Is it necessary to put money to different 3A providers to reduce bankruptcy risk exposure?

Hi Mustachians

I currently have only 33k CHF with 3A VIAC(under 5 different accounts) and this is my only 3A provider. I have never thought about paying to a different 3A provider as I got used to how VIAC works and can’t complain.

A friend did the same but pay her 3A into different 3A providers to reduce her risk in case one provider gets bankrupt.

I wish to know is this necessary? considering I only have 33K CHF

Provider of 3a pillar or provider of funds within?
For the former - you should be at no risk, as your money sits within funds.
For the latter - similar I believe, as it would likely be taken over by another fund provider.
But happy to be corrected by someone more knowledgable.

A more valid reason to split accounts (not necessarily providers too) is tax advantage at time of withdrawal around retirement.

I personally do have them split between VIAC and Finpension; but slowly transitioning from A to B (due to 40% CHF restriction).


For the tax reasons stated by dbu, it makes sense to start splitting the accounts early and not fill one of them with say 50k before you start filling the next one, because the new accounts will never catch up with the old accounts due to the compound effect.

If you split up early, you will have more or less the same size for all accounts once you withdraw them, which reduces the withdrawal taxes.

I would not say necessary: 3a comes after OASI and pillar 2, most of us have taxable investments, some have equity in a house. 3a is for many already a small part of their wealth and they are already diversified through providers through it.

3a cash and 3a funds are handled differently in case of bankruptcy of the 3a provider:

3a cash is less protected than taxable cash held in a bank: it is privileged, but not insured. That means it gets paid first with the money available when the bankruptcy occurs but if there is not enough money at that time, the extra part is not covered. Such an event is extremely unlikely but it exists and it is a risk.

3a funds are segregated assets: they don’t get liquidated in case of bankruptcy but keep being yours. They’re held at a third party and your 3a provider shouldn’t be able to use them to cover themselves. For them to disappear requires fraud. However, fraud has happened before and can happen again so here again, the likelihood of your 3a funds disappearing is extremely low, but it exists and it is a risk.

So the probability of the risk occurring is very low, the consequences of the risk occurring, for many people, would be low (it may not be your case, a personal assessment is required). In most risk mitigation strategies, that would make it not worth covering that risk. However, in this case, the cost of mitigating that risk is also ridiculously low (taking the time of oppening an account with another provider, alimenting one account or the other each year (slightlty easier than to split between account during the year when it comes to filling taxes) and paying a slightly higher (or lower) TER for the assets, depending on the provider you choose. That last point would be a no go for some, it isn’t for me. Frankly. is my VIAC diversifier.


Small clarification, it is privileged only up to CHF 100k per beneficiary. If you were to hold more than 100k in 3a cash at a single bank, the risk would be significantly larger. Exceptions are banks protected by a state guarantee (this also applies to TrueWealth via BLKB).


Also keep in mind that the bank behind VIAC is WIR Bank, so if you had an additional, say, 80k (3a or non-3a) on “normal” accounts at WIR Bank (directly or via other fintechs/neobanks), you’re over the priviledged 100k.

Last time I checked, it was said that 3a cash is protected separately from other cash accounts.

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This is from Questions and Answers (FAQ) | esisuisse


Oops, my bad. Sorry.

What about the cantonal banks’ “Staatsgarantie”? If I’ve read the above FAQ right, that should apply to 3a as well, right?

If you have different Portfolios at viac, does this count as separate account?

Sorry, mixed up things.

For withdrawals, every VIAC or finpension portfolio is a different account.

For esuisuisse guarantee, these limits are per customer relationship with a bank. For example, husband’s, wife’s, and their joint account would be 3 customer relationships, but all your non-3a or 3a accounts are one relationship. Still, this applies to cash only!

Yes, for tax reasons (lower withdrawal tax) these count as separate accounts.

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Thanks a lot for the rich info. I have 5 accounts with VIAC and are all under the 99% equity strategy so only 1% cash. I just wish to know if I can continue paying VIAC or I should pay this year to a different provider. Sorry you probably have already replied but I don’t understand all the details and technicality(I have read 3 times :sweat_smile:) and just wish to have a simple conclusion/decision.

If you are like most working people in Switzerland, you can continue paying into VIAC.

If there are special circumstances warranting you to think your situation is different than the one of the average Swiss investor, you would need to share them to have more tailored advice.

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It is not neccessary to protect against the risk. You can simply take the risk.

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is this sarcasm? :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile: @PhilMongoose

It’s simply a cost/benefit analysis, if the risk of losing 1/2 your money in VIAC is less than the cost/hassle of you opening another account to spread the risk across two institutions, then by all means, keep all your eggs in a single basket. :wink:

For me the reason for a different provider for each 3a account is different.

I heard of people who had issues when withdrawing from multiple accounts at the same provider: the provider apparently messed up and internally considered them the same account, and forced a single withdrawal the same year.

I do not trust any provider enough not to do a mistake like this, and prefer not to have to wait until I am 60 to find out. With multiple providers I am 100% certain that this will not happen.


There are ways to solve this rather than just quietly accepting as this is a 100% case of them messing up. Last resort a court should be able to solve this if all negotiations with the provider fail. Either the court orders to revert the action or the provider needs to pay the extra incurred withdrawal tax.

Mathematical 100% is not possible. Let’s say you estimate any provider to be 50/50 if they fuck up or not. If you have one provider the chance is 50%. If you have five (assumption) provider the chance is 3,125% (0.5^5) that none of them fuck up and 96,875% that at least one provider fucks up.

Now if you trust one of the five providers 100% then you might aswell park everything there.

Couldn’t you try to withdraw 1 account at the age of 60, and if that’s not possible, transfer the money to some cantonal bank and withdraw it from there?