AUSTRIA - The €2.4bn Austrian multi-employer Pensionskasse APK is looking for alternatives to "level out increasing volatility in the current market environment", the fund's head Christian Böhm told IPE today.

"We are looking at strategies which tend to be less correlated with a long-only equities and bond approach," the chief executive said.

That said, it is understood APK is not necessarily looking to invest in hedge funds. 

"That is one possibility but we are not looking at set strategies like hedge funds or absolute return - we are seeking very specific, innovative approaches in order to ensure the growth of our clients' assets," Böhm noted.

"We are open to innovative new ideas."

He would not disclose any particulars about the strategies currently discussed with "very interesting managers" as he fears to be "overrun with marketing people", he explained.

"We prefer direct talks and are very selective about the strategies we choose."

Böhm confirmed talks are taking place but he said he could not give any names of potential managers at this point in time and was unwilling to specify the amount the APK plans to spend on new alternative strategies.

"We will start cautiously and see how it goes," he said.

Böhm added it was undecided whether the new approach would be only a temporary tactical move to deal with current challenges in the financial markets or whether it is a long-term strategy.

"We are frequently looking at new ideas and are very flexible so there is constant change."

In its recent general meeting the APK presented its 2007 results including a 4.8% return to its shareholders. (See earlier IPE story: APK outperforms Austrian average)

At the meeting Hans Tschuden, CFO of Telekom Austria company, was voted onto the supervisory board of APK.

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