Invest in pillar 3aUnderstanding the Swiss pension system

frankly Pillar 3a Experience: Review 2023

frankly Säule 3a Erfahrungen und Review 2023
Lesedauer 8 Minuten

Last update: 16.10.2023 17:50

Want to manage your retirement savings easily and conveniently? Then our frankly pillar 3a experiences could show you the way to a good solution. In this testimonial, we will tell you all about frankly and show you if it is the right choice for you.

What is frankly?

frankly is the digital pillar 3a pension solution of Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB). It was launched on the market in March 2020. frankly allows you to manage your Pillar 3a (or vested benefits) retirement savings easily and conveniently via an app or web access via computer or tablet. frankly offers a wide range of investment strategies. So you can pretty well design your plants according to your needs.

Who is behind frankly?

Behind frankly is the Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB). It is one of the safest universal banks based in Zurich. Although ZKB has its origins in Zurich, its products are available throughout Switzerland and abroad, where they also enjoy a high reputation.

In 2020, Zürcher Kantonalbank celebrated its 150th anniversary and can thus look back on a history rich in tradition. In 2014, it acquired the asset manager Swisscanto Invest in full. Swisscanto is one of the largest Swiss fund providers with a good reputation. frankly therefore relies on Swisscanto for its investment products.

How does frankly and the registration work?

frankly is an easy to use app and web solution. It offers five different investment strategies. You can choose your investment profile and product according to your needs and change at any time.

You can open your account with your cell phone and ID or online without any paperwork or bank visits. The process is self-explanatory and simple. You need a Swiss cell phone number for this.

Only the decision “active or passive products” might cause some trouble for less experienced investors. As we have already shown in various articles, we prefer passive, i.e. indexed products. Numerous studies have shown that active products do not deliver better returns than passive products over longer periods of time. On the contrary. Neither beginners nor experts beat the market in the long run. Also no Swisscanto fund managers 😉
Later, you can manage frankly pillar 3a both by app and in the web version (since 2023).

What are the frankly pillar 3a fee experiences?

frankly offers a favorable fee structure compared to other pillar 3a providers. The all-in fee is currently 0.45%, which is very competitive compared to other providers. The all-in fee is a flat rate that does not depend on the strategy chosen, the investment product or the share percentage. As of July 1, 2023, it is no longer levied on the cash portion of assets. Settlement is made quarterly pro rata on the invested assets. Cash assets also earn interest. The interest rate since October 1, 2023 is currently 1.00% . Thus, the fees at frankly are transparent.

Certain costs are not included in the all-in fee and are detailed on the website. This relates to any issue and redemption fees for indexed investment products and remuneration and ancillary costs charged directly to the investment product (i.e., for example, bid/offer spreads, commissions, taxes, levies and total expense ratio (TER) of exchange-traded real estate funds).

What is the minimum deposit?

frankly knows neither a minimum deposit nor a minimum term. You can deposit from 1 franc. So “too little money for the 3a” is no longer an excuse! Starting from 5 francs your money will be invested in additional shares of the chosen investment product. This will be done 1-2 days after receipt of payment.

Note: frankly does not assume any issuance and redemption fees in favor of the investment product as well as costs related to 3a insurance policies. Unfortunately, there are significantly higher costs in the event of premature termination of your pillar 3a contract.

Smolio frankly experience and review 2023

Which investment strategies does frankly offer?

frankly offers five different investment strategies, ranging from “security-conscious” to “opportunity-oriented”. You can choose either an active investment product or an indexed investment product, each of which has the same equity quota. Equity ratios of 10, 25, 45, 75 or 95 % are possible. The product names indicate whether it is an active or indexed product (active / index), and the number shows you how high the share quota is.

So you have the choice between nine different investment products. On a quarterly basis, frankly informs you about the development of your investments.

Investment strategyActive productsIndex products
safety-consciousLight 10 Active(none)
carefulGentle 25 ActiveGentle 20 Index
balancedModerate 45 ActiveModerate 45 Index
ambitiousStrong 75 ActiveStrong 75 Index
opportunity-orientedExtreme 95 ActiveExtreme 95 Index
frankly investment strategies, as of September 2023

How does frankly implement my investment strategy?

For the implementation of your investment strategy, frankly uses target funds that track different benchmarks. The target funds in indexed investment products charge issue and redemption fees, which, as already described, are not included in the all-in fee. For example, these amount to 0.23% / 0.07% (issue / redemption) for the “Moderate 45 Index”.

You will not find the target funds directly on the frankly website, but via the detour at Swisscanto. There, you’ll have to go through a bit of a hassle to find the fact sheets on each target fund to understand what you’re investing in. Alternatively, you can download them in the app or when logged in. For example, it remains opaque what you invest in with the “Extreme 95 Index”. The fact sheet states that you invest in the target fund “Swisscanto (CH) IPF III Vorsorge-Fonds 95 Passiv NT CHF”, the investments of which are made “mainly via indexed investment funds of Swisscanto”. Okeee, I’d love to know what benchmark my retirement assets are running against and how my product is performing against the bench.

The fact sheet further states that “the share of unhedged foreign currency positions can be a maximum of 30%.” In other words, Swisscanto hedges the exchange rate fluctuation of foreign currency positions against Swiss francs. This is a sensible approach in the short term. For long-term investors building their retirement savings, for example, forced foreign currency hedging costs valuable returns.

How can I invest sustainably with frankly?

The active investment products take sustainability aspects into account. This is not the case with passive products.

Since frankly invests in Swisscanto investment products, you benefit from the sustainability efforts of this fund provider in the active investment products. Thus, Swisscanto invests your money with frankly according to ESG criteria, excludes certain companies from investments and also conducts engagement dialogues with individual companies. Sustainable investing with frankly costs the same and no more than the passive investment solutions – everything is covered by the All-In Fee. I think that’s fair, and not all competitors do it that way.

What makes the frankly pillar 3a experience unique?

Staggered investment
You can open both a 3a savings account and a securities account with frankly. If you are new to investing and don’t want to invest “all at once” in stocks, you can invest gradually. Or you can pay your savings contributions into a Pillar 3a account and then invest when you see fit. In another post, we explored how you can best invest a larger amount.

By default, frankly is set to automatic investment mode. You can adjust this to “independent“, then you have control.

Volume discount
The more customers invest their money with frankly, the more the costs decrease. It works like this: The all-in fee decreases when the total investment volume of all frankly customers reaches the next threshold. The next stage of the full-bodied “community discount” is reached at CHF 2.5 billion. Then there is 1 basis point less fee, the all-in fee drops to 0.44%.

In the event of a Pillar 3a transfer, frankly will pay the switching fees charged by the transferring pension foundation when you close your 3a savings account or sell your 3a securities solution. You can find out more here.

Smolio Frankly Pillar 3a Experience Review 2023

What are the advantages of frankly?

  • Simple and user-friendly user interface available via app and web
  • Fast opening process that takes only a few minutes and does not require a visit to the bank.
  • Already from CHF 1.- can start
  • Wide range of investment strategies
  • Favorable fee structure with transparent costs
  • Sustainable strategies are not more expensive than “traditional” strategies
  • Investment takes place already from 5 francs investment amount

What are the disadvantages of frankly?

  • All-in fee does not completely include all fees
  • Maximum share quota is limited to 95%
  • Sustainable investing is only possible in the active investment products
  • Many customers are overwhelmed in onboarding with decision for active or passive products
  • Forced foreign currency hedging costs returns
  • Lack of transparency in the target funds of the investment products

How does frankly compare to other solutions?

Compared to other pillar 3a solutions, frankly performs very well thanks to the advantages mentioned above.

Which is better: frankly, VIAC or finpension?

We think: all three solutions have their merits. We have examined each solution in separate articles:

Our tip: Check out our matching article

Finpension-Säule 3a-Erfahrungen

finpension 3a experience and review 2023

Already had experience with finpension 3a? Many people know VIAC for securities investments in pillar 3a because of the favorable fees. But since October 2022, it’s even cheaper. We have known and observed finpension 3a for a long time. What do you think of finpension? Read on and benefit from our experience and finpension 3a…

Continue Reading

We think they all offer good value for money and the costs are close together. After all, these are the three “pacesetters” at the top of the digital pension market in Switzerland and they give each other nothing. Take a look at the providers in our pillar 3a product finder(launch in Q4/2023).

Summary frankly pillar 3a experience

frankly is a user-friendly app and web solution that allows you to manage your retirement savings easily and conveniently. It offers many investment strategies and a favorable all-in fee, which is very advantageous for portfolios with a high proportion of equities. The backing of ZKB makes frankly interesting for many who are looking for a modern and digital pillar 3a solution from a world-renowned universal bank.

Open pillar 3a now with 35 francs bonus

Use code SMOLIO for your welcome bonus when opening an account. You get this as a fee credit if you deposit or transfer at least 1 franc within 3 months. And you save for life with equity ratios of 60% or more thanks to very low fees.


Wir sind dir dankbar, wenn du bei einer Kontoeröffnung unseren Code nutzt. Wir erhalten dann eine kleine Vergütung. Für dich wird es dadurch nicht teurer und wir können die Kosten für den Betrieb der Plattform decken.

More FAQs about frankly

About author


Thomas verfügt über mehr als 30 Jahre Expertise als Privatanleger in fast allen Anlageklassen und zwei Vorsorgesystemen. Er gestaltet seit vielen Jahren einfache Kunden- und Serviceerlebnisse, bewegt Menschen und Organisationen und hat ein tiefes Verständnis für die Herausforderungen von Menschen bei Finanzthemen gewonnen. Thomas bringt mit seinem Background als Doktor in Wirtschaftswissenschaften Themen einfach und pragmatisch auf den Punkt.
Related posts
Invest in pillar 3a

finpension 3a experience and review 2023

Already had experience with finpension 3a? Many people know VIAC for securities investments in pillar 3a because of the favorable fees. But since October 2022, it’s even cheaper. We have known and observed finpension 3a for a long time. What do you think of finpension? Read on and benefit from our experience and finpension 3a voucher code.
Read more
Build investment portfolioFinancial independenceInvesting in the stock market

findependent investment app: investing in ETFs for everyone with just a few clicks

Last update: 11.04.2022 17:50 Findependent wants to make investing accessible to everyone in Switzerland via an investment app. We speak to the CEO Matthias Bryner. In an exclusive interview, he explains how findependent came about and provides valuable background information. He talks about his plans and gives you a very…
Read more
Retirement and pension planningUnderstanding the Swiss pension system

How much money does a pensioner need in Switzerland: having enough to make ends meet in retirement

Last update: 10.04.2022 13:34 How much money a pensioner needs in Switzerland varies from person to person. What you can assume, however, is that as a retired person you will have much less than today without your own precautionary measures. And around 40% less income that you have to get…
Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *