Do currency-hedged investment instruments incur additional costs?

For many asset classes, for example American equities, currency-hedged investment instruments are available that hedge the risk of currency fluctuations, for example currency-hedged ETFs or index funds.

The costs of currency hedging are usually low. They arise from the fact that futures contracts (FX swaps) have to be rolled, i.e. exchanged, approximately every three months. The resulting bid/ask spreads of the forward contracts are in the range of a few basis points (hundredths of a percentage point) for the most important currencies (incl. CHF, USD, EUR, GBP, JPY). At most, for commercial reasons, the product costs (TER) are slightly higher for currency-hedged ETFs and index funds, which is why we always pay close attention to the TER when selecting investment instruments.

A side effect of currency hedging is that the interest rate differential between foreign currency and home currency (Swiss franc) is neutralised. This is in the nature of things, otherwise an arbitrage opportunity would arise and one could profit from the higher interest rates of the foreign currency without currency risk. No investor would buy more Swiss Confederation bonds (scientifically speaking, the law of covered interest rate parity applies) if 3.5% more interest were paid on US Treasuries.

Sometimes, therefore, it is wrongly argued that the interest rate difference is the cost of currency hedging. This is a fallacy, because historically, currencies with higher interest rates have often depreciated against currencies with lower interest rates. If we look at the period 1989 to 2021, for example, interest rates on US dollars were higher on average than interest rates on Swiss francs, but the exchange rate loss completely compensated for the interest rate advantage.

More questions in "Pillar 3a"

Where can I see how my Pillar 3a assets are distributed among the various accounts?I already use True Wealth's Pillar 3a and have paid in the maximum annual contribution. Now I would like to transfer an additional amount from another provider to True Wealth. How does this affect the staggering of the accounts?How much does True Wealth's Pillar 3a cost?How can True Wealth offer an interest rate of 1.50%?Pillar 3a processing dates over the 2024/2025 holidaysWhere can I view the regulations of the 3a Digital Pension Foundation?I would like to transfer funds from my free assets at True Wealth to Pillar 3a this year. By when must the transfer be made at the latest?I would like to make a new contribution to my Pillar 3a this year. What is the latest date by which the deposit must be made?What is the maximum amount I can pay into Pillar 3a in 2024?At what age can I start paying into Pillar 3a?The cost regulations of the pension foundation mention an administrative fee. Why does the website say that the offer is free of charge?How is the Pillar 3a payout taxed?Is my money safe and does the deposit guarantee also apply to my Pillar 3a assets?Can I also transfer my 3a accounts from other providers to True Wealth?I am self-employed and can pay more than CHF 7’056 into my Pillar 3a. Is this possible with True Wealth?How often is the interest paid out and where can I see this?I want to be 100% invested in cash for the moment. How can I adjust my investment strategy?Does True Wealth plan to also use withholding tax-exempt index funds in Pillar 3a?Can I also use True Wealth's Pillar 3a without investing in free asset management?If True Wealth already opens at least five 3a accounts and I have other 3a accounts with other providers, isn't that a problem?Does True Wealth's staggered withdrawal system guarantee me a maximum tax deduction?How is True Wealth regulated and where are my pension assets held?Does True Wealth also use fractional shares?For what reasons can Pillar 3a be paid out early?What are the advantages of holistic asset management and why is only one investment strategy possible?When can I liquidate my Pillar 3a?How large are the FX spreads on Pillar 3a from True Wealth?Where can I find the tax return documents?How can I withdraw my Pillar 3a?What is Pillar 3b?How much money should be in each Pillar 3a account?How long does it take to open my Pillar 3a with True Wealth?By when do you have to withdraw the Pillar 3a?What happens to Pillar 3a in the event of death?Which is better for Pillar 3a, ETFs or index funds?How exactly does True Wealth's auto top-up system work?What is Pillar 3a?Why are past returns not an indicator of future returns?Is there a minimum contract term with True Wealth?Is True Wealth planning to increase fees in the future?Does True Wealth engage in securities lending in Pillar 3a?Why should you choose True Wealth's Pillar 3a?Is there also a Pillar 3a app?Where is the registered office of the Pension Foundation 3a Digital and how is it supervised?Can I have my Pillar 3a transferred from True Wealth to another provider?Why are currency-hedged ETFs or index funds used in some cases?What is pooling and netting and how does it benefit me as a client?How often does the rebalancing of the Pillar 3a account take place?Why is True Wealth able to offer a securities-based Pillar 3a free of charge, while other market participants charge for it?Can I hold the same number of shares and the same amount of foreign currency in my Pillar 3a as in my free assets?

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Contact us

Ready to invest?

Open account

Not sure how to start? Open a test account and upgrade to a full account later.

Open test account