Christian Boehm, the chief executive officer of Austria’s APK Pensionskasse, is stepping down from his position on 30 June.
Boehm´s mandate ends at the end of June as agreed in the last extension of his contract. He served almost 33 years as a member of the scheme’s board, more than half of that time as CEO.
Alfred Ungerboeck, a board member, will also step down on 30 June.
New board members include Manfred Brenner – also appointed as the fund’s new chief investment officer following his position as head of investments at APK – and Beate Wolf, who will be the APK’s new chief risk officer.
Prior to joining APK, Wolf was member of the board of Valida Vorsorgekasse and Valida Plus.
APK’s new board members will take over responsibilities following the fund’s scheduled annual general meeting in June.
The supervisory board of the Pensionskasse decided that the new board will have shared responsibilities, meaning a clear division between the positions of risk and investment management but without the role of chief executive officer, Boehm told IPE.
Moreover, Thomas Keplinger has been elected CEO, and Poul Thybo CIO of the fund’s subsidiary APK Vorsorgekasse, a severance payment provider. Their roles will be effective from January 2023.
Reflecting on his career at APK, Boehm said: “We worked a lot to organise the necessary legal framework for the pension fund business in Austria. We have been the forerunners in the switch to a defined contribution [DC] system in Austria.”
For new members, APK provides almost exclusively (99%) DC arrangements and it has defined benefit (DB) arrangements for retired people, Boehm said.
He added: “If you talk about financial institutions in Austria you think about insurance companies and the banking industry, but I am more convinced than ever to have different financial institutions like pension funds that are able to invest more in the real economy and with a long-term view on investments.”
For Boehm, the biggest challenge today for pension funds is to build up a “robust portfolio, very well diversified”, underlining, however, that pension investors have to take more risks today to achieve returns. He added that investments activities are “much more complicated than ever”.