SWEDEN - The  SEK207.3bn (€22.3bn) AP4 buffer fund is looking for a new head of equities and a new head of fixed income and currency, following the departure of Anders Årjes and Leif Hässel.

Hässel told IPE today he will start on April 8 as chief investment officer of Kammarkollegiet - the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency in Stockholm.

He has denied both he and his colleague Årjes left in relation to AP4's announcement it had missed its benchmark in 2007, instead stating he decided to leave because the new role at Kammarkollegiet offered increased responsibility.

That both Hässel and Årjes also departed at the same time is "completely coincidental", according to Hässel.

Mats Andersson, chief executive officer at AP4, was not available for comment today but said during the presentation of the fund's annual report last week the 2.4% return raised in 2007 was an ‘unsatisfactory' performance, and has led to intensified effort for change.

"We did not meet our targets for absolute return or active management. The improvements achieved in the first six months were erased by the turbulence in the credit market and the year ended with unsatisfactory active return of -1.0 percentage points," he said.

He added the absolute return from the five-year perspective is acceptable, though the fund's problem is active management performance - the capacity to outperform the market measured as index - "remains negative".

"In response to this trend, we have further intensified our change initiative," concluded Andersson. (See earlier IPE story: AP4 misses 2007 performance target)

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Carolyn Bandel on +44 (0)20 7261 4622 or email carolyn.bandel@ipe.com