Guess they are just not so much in demand because most people are long term investors and for long term investors bonds are actually more risky than stocks.
I think bonds make sense if you have a short investment horizon or if you psychologically have troubles dealing with volatility, but other than that?
Anyway, if you just want Swiss government bonds, why not investing into bonds directly? In the end, they are all from the Swiss government so an ETF is not really needed (you just pay unnecessary management fees).
UBS had virtually identical bond ETFs as iShares (same index, same TER), however, they were liquidated in 2019. UBS now offers a SBI ESG AAA-BBB ETF (CH0118923892), which includes government bonds but also corporate bonds.
Credit Suisse offers a CSIF Bond Switzerland AAA-AA mutual index fund. Also covers more than just government bonds, however, given the rating range, it should be safe enough for the stable portion of your portfolio (when the prime rate is positive again). This index fund is also available at Viac for pillar 3a.
Bond ETFs provide duration management and you can benefit from roll-down return. If @Neville wants to hold gov bonds to maturity, sure, buying them directly is an option, however, manual duration management may not be feasible for private investors. If I remember correctly, a single bond typically has a high price (possibly CHF 10k), though, and broker fees may be higher than for ETFs.
I was checking Swiss bonds like one year ago. Yes, there are iShares ETFs if you want. But in total I found 24 bonds (now 23) from the Confederation and 149 from cantons and cities. The latter are often very illiquid.
How do you buy Swiss government bonds directly? I can’t find them in IBKR’s bond search tool, and moneyland warns about high trading/custody fees by Swiss brokers.
I’m not necessarily interested to buy at this point, just curious. Anybody has first hand experience?