SWITZERLAND - Pensionskasse Energie, a CHF8.5bn (€5.2bn) pension fund for the Swiss energy sector, has appointed Bernard Rasper as its new chief financial officer.

Rasper was formerly director of finance at PKE, which he joined in mid-2006. He will assume responsibility for accounting, personnel administration and quality control.

The other three members of PKE's board are Beatrice Fluri, head of insurance, Christoph Auckenthaler, head of portfolio management and Clivia Koch, chief executive.

A defined contribution scheme based in Zurich, PKE insures around 23,000 employees at 290 firms primarily in the energy sector.

PKE has yet to publish its results for its 2006/2007 business year. At the end of the previous year, it said its return totalled 20.5%, or well above the average for other Swiss pension funds. The above-average return was mainly due to an exceptional performance of PKE's equity holdings.

As of March 31 2006, PKE had 48.2% of assets allocated to equities. Allocations to bonds were 24.5% - one of the lowest quotas for Swiss schemes - while real estate investments totalled 21.8%, including 8.6% in mortgage loans.

Alternative investments and cash accounted for 2.5% and 3% of PKE's assets, respectively. The scheme's funding ratio was 122%.

Separately, Zurich's public prosecutor, which is investigating the Swissfirst bank scandal, said it had fined a former employee at the bank for violation of Swiss banking secrecy laws.

In the scandal, seven Swiss pension funds made what appeared to be dubious trades with Swissfirst shares prior to the bank's merger with a peer in September 2005. The schemes have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

According to Zurich's prosecutor, the former Swissfirst employee in February 2006 compiled a list of pension funds which traded the bank's shares before and after the merger.