Effective implementation of the foundation purpose

The performance of a foundation is based not only on the juridical framework, but also on an effective grant-making management founded on strategy. The foundation’s liquid below-the-line revenue is also decisive for its assets. Leading to a form of Mission-based Investment, these factors contribute to the best-possible fulfilment of the foundation purpose.

In accordance with the transparency imperative, Gebert Rüf Stiftung discloses its finances, details of the grant support provided (foundation output) and its investments (financial input).


Since 2006, the assets of Gebert Rüf Stiftung, totalling approx. CHF 220 million, have been managed in accordance with an investment strategy that is optimized periodically. The foundation invests in passive, index-based products rather than buying or selling individual stocks. These index-based investments are concentrated in large funds in keeping with the asset pooling principle. Thanks to their size, these funds are able to offer correspondingly reasonable costs.

This results in lower fees than with an active investment policy and ensures that the return is close to the market return. For one thing, it is not possible to beat the market in the long run. For another, the costs associated with passive investing are generally lower thanks to simpler portfolio management and participation in pool solutions. Active investment products are employed only if there are no suitable passive products available in a particular investment category.

The foundation purpose of Gebert Rüf Stiftung does not allow for mission-based investment.

Index Investments for Grant-making Foundations

The existing investment strategy was further optimized at the beginning of 2010: the changeover to index-based products specially designed for grant-making foundations reduces Gebert Rüf Stiftung's withholding tax liability, particularly on foreign equity investments. This improves the net return after deducting costs.

In addition, part of the foreign currency risk in the equity allocation is now hedged. As a result, the return on a large part of the investments has not been impaired by the strength of the Swiss franc. This has more than offset the cost of switching over to a different investment approach.

The new, improved investment solution has been achieved within the framework of a pool solution, i.e. a purchasing group for grant-making foundations. The pooling of the assets of different foundations has enabled Gebert Rüf Stiftung to further reduce its portfolio management costs. As a result, more money is available for project support.


Since it was first established, Gebert Rüf Stiftung has awarded a total of around CHF 180 million (financial outflows), of which more than CHF 164.7 million has been invested in direct project support.

Investment Performance in % and Mio. CHF

Net yield
Surplus yield
as at 12/31/16 +3.42 -1.24   153.0
2nf half 16 +1.01 -0.34   153.0
1st half 16 +2.38 -0.89 7.8 158.1
as at 12/31/15 -0.12 -1.04 14.3 158.9
2nd half 15 -0.20 -0.81  6.1 158.9
1st half 15 +0.08 -0.23   8.2 168.7
as at 12/31/14 +4.43 +0.03 12.8 175.3
2nd half 14 +8.06 +0.02   5.2 175.3
1st half 14  +4.43 -0.03   7.6 175.4
as at 12/31/13 +8.06 +0.02 10.7 173.4
2nd half 13 +4.56  –0.01   3.5 173.4
1st half 13 +3.35 +0.03   7.2 171.1
as at 12/31/12 +8.07 +0.01 11.4 170.6
2nd half 12 +3.96 –0.01   4.8 170.6
1st half 12 +3.95 +0.02   6.6  170.6 
as at 12/31/11 +1.08 +0.25 10.0 169.0
2nd half 11 +0.76 +0.21  4.2 169.0
1st half 11 +0.25 +0.05  5.8 173.7
as at 12/31/10 +3.6 –0.68  8.5 177.3
2nd half 10  +4.43  –0.44  3.2 177.3
1st half 10 –0.79 –0.23  5.3 174.7
as at 12/31/09 +14.13
2nd half 09
1st half 09
as at 12/31/08
2nd half 08
1st half 08
as at 12/31/07
2nd half 07
1st half 07
as at 12/31/06


2nd half 06


1st half 06
Comparison value as at 12/31/2005

  • Expected long-term portfolio yield according to investment strategy: 2.8 % p. a.

Gebert Rüf Stiftung's portfolio in the financial crisis 2007/2008

With an annual return of -17.34 % for the «annus horribilis» 2008, Gebert Rüf Stiftung suffered relatively light losses when considered against the backdrop of the massive falls on the capital market: performance comparisons with other foundations and indices only present a partial picture of the investment result as the portfolios compared differ in composition. The portfolio of Gebert Rüf Stiftung can best be compared with the Pictet BVG-40 Index whose performance in 2008 is practically identical.


The board of trustees is responsible for managing the foundation’s assets. It has set up a finance committee to perform this task. The investment organization is based on the principle of «checks and balances»; all conflicts of interest are avoided by following a clearly structured valued added process.
Investment Strategy & Asset Pooling: avoidance of conflicts of interest

Pooling of the foundation's assets

Gebert Rüf Stiftung had been interested in pursuing the pooling of assets for a long time. Since the beginning of 2010, it has been able to realize this idea with a strategic partner, while maintaining complete independence. All the «pooled» services, i. e. those not required individually for each foundation, can be purchased at prices applicable to a portfolio equivalent to the size of the entire pool.

On the one hand, this has made it possible to further reduce portfolio management costs. On the other hand, smaller grant-making foundations will henceforth have the opportunity to invest their assets at much lower portfolio management costs than under an individual arrangement.